Sun, Aug 23, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Veterans remember Kinmen battle

POUNDED, BUT NOT OUTChina’s bombardment of the ROC-controlled islands lasted months and used roughly 480,000 shells. But the Taiwan-based army never gave up

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Lu Fang-yen, right, leader of an association for “823 Battle” veterans, shakes hands with Major General Huang Ching-ling as a group of veterans of the battle return to Kinmen yesterday to take part in activities marking the 51st anniversary of China’s shelling of the island group.

PHOTO: CNA

A group of approximately 100 veterans of the “823 Battle” returned to Kinmen yesterday to take part in activities marking the 51st anniversary of China’s shelling of the island group.

The veterans toured battle sites in Kinmen soon after their arrival and are expected to attend a ceremony today in memory of their deceased comrades.

Lu Fang-yen (呂芳煙), leader of an association for “823 Battle” veterans, said the veterans came to Kinmen not to celebrate Taiwan’s victory in the battle, but to tell their lost comrades that they have not been forgotten. The battle left 439 Taiwanese soldiers dead or missing, with 1,870 others injured.

Lu reminded the public that the battle’s victory was crucial to the prosperity and progress of Taiwan and urged the government to provide proper benefits for aging veterans.

The conflict, known internationally as the Battle of the Taiwan Strait, began on Aug. 23, 1958, when China began heavily bombarding Kinmen. The Chinese military fired more than 30,000 shells in the first 85 minutes alone.

The Chinese military did not suspend the bombardment until Oct. 6, when the intensive action had continued for 44 days.

On Oct. 20, however, China resumed shelling. This second phase of shelling ran through Oct. 25, when Beijing announced it would shift to the strategy of bombing Kinmen on odd-numbered days and resting on even-numbered days.

When the battle finally came to an end on Jan. 7, 1959, the Chinese troops had fired approximately 480,000 shells, but still failed to pound Kinmen into submission.

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