WWII Books, Photos Revive Memories of U.S., China Fighting Together in WWII

May 31, 2015
Editor: Frank Zhao

On September 8, 1944, Sargeant Roy Smith, an American tail gunner of B-29 aircraft, was forced to parachute out and landed in a rice field in Qin Huangdao, a port city in northeast China, after under attack by a Japanese fighter plane.

He could have been killed by Japanese patrols who then frantically searched for any survivors, if not for the sanctuary offered by local farmers.

In the following four months, Smith and his comrades traversed over 1,000 miles of mountainous terrain in bitterly cold temperature under the guidance of Chinese people and military.

By January, 1945, they had reached safely in Yan'an, then the base of the Chinese Communist Party which fought side by side with the U.S. 20th Air force against Japan.

This period of history could have sunk into obscurity if not for a World War II book, entitled Superfortress: Anti-Japanese History of US 20th Air Force with Chinese People compiled by Li Xiaowei, a Chinese historian.

On May 29, the book was added to the curated collection of a global online library at a ceremony held here on Friday during 2015 Bookexpo America (BEA), the largest book fair in the United States.

The book, which is composed of more than 100 photos and memoirs of those involved in the war, depicts the days when the 20th Air Force, based in China's southwestern Sichuan province, fought together with the Chinese people against Japanese aggressors, Li said.

"These U.S. soldiers risked their lives, some of whom even died in China, in the fight against Japanese imperialism. However, their stories remained largely untold in media coverage or military-related books," Li told Xinhua at the Javits Convention Center, which hosts the three-day book fair that ended on Friday.

Now, readers worldwide can access the book on Engage Gale E-Library, the publisher said.

Glenn Smith, son of Sargeant Roy Smith, also attended the ceremony.

He thanked Li and the Chinese publisher for their "tireless efforts to thoroughly research the history" and "bringing this book to life."

"Many have hailed the Americans as heroes. But the real heroes were the Chinese people that saved the lives of the Americans while risking their own," he said.

The release of the book is part of a series of events held at BEA to commemorate this year's 70th anniversary of the world's victory over fascism and refresh shared memories of Chinese and U.S. forces fighting together in the Second World War.

"It needs to be remembered, because it is an important part of Chinese history, it is an important part of American history," said John Plating, a WWII historian, adding that "it speaks a strong message of cooperation" between China and the United States.

On Tuesday, another event featuring a book launch and a photo exhibition of the "Shared Memories of the US and China" was held in Javits Convention Center.

"Seventy years ago, Chinese and U.S. soldiers and civilians fought side by side for peace in the Pacific Region. Their heroic deeds and daily lives have been preserved and passed on by means of photos and films," said Xu Bu, president of China's Foreign Languages Press, at the launch ceremony.

BEA is the most important international book fair in North America that Dates back to 1947. This year, China was invited as the Guest of Honor for BEA 2015's Global Market Forum (GMF) program.

(Source: Xinhua)

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