TENGCHONG, Yunnan, June 12 -- The cremated remains of hundreds of soldiers of the Chinese Expeditionary Force who died while fighting the Japanese army in World War II in Myanmar were reburied in a border town in southwest China's Yunnan Province on Thursday.
The remains of 635 expeditionary soldiers had been buried in Namhkam and Bhamo in Myanmar.
Graveyard dirt from Myanmar's Lashio and Muse was also buried on Thursday as tombs of Chinese soldiers there had already been destroyed.
Twenty-two caskets of remains and two of graveyard dirt were laid to rest at Guoshang Cemetery in Tengchong County in Yunnan, which borders Myanmar.
The cemetery, which literally means "Elegy of the Nation Cemetery", was established in 1945 to honor deceased soldiers of the Chinese Expeditionary Force that reclaimed Tengchong from Japanese forces.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of Tengchong being reclaimed.
Around 1,000 people, including veterans, descendants of the soldiers, overseas compatriots and locals, attended the burial ceremony.
"It is a comfort to see many of my fellow soldiers return home," said Li Huasheng, a 100-year-old veteran of the Chinese Expeditionary Force.
Hu Qili, chairman of the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, said history will forever remember the contributions made by the force.
Wu Po-hsiung, honorary chairman of Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang (KMT), said that people all know the cruelty of the war and the great spirit of the Chinese Expeditionary Force will be passed down from generation to generation.
"We commemorate the revolutionary martyrs and we should never forget the national humiliation," said a resident, who did not want to be named.
In 1942, China sent 100,000 expeditionary soldiers to Myanmar to fight the Japanese. In the next three years, China sent 300,000 troops to Myanmar, killing more than 60,000 Japanese soldiers. During the war, nearly half of Chinese soldiers were killed or injured.