Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda Pan Hejun has said the commemoration of the Chinese martyrs who died in Rwanda is a sign of the profound relations enjoyed by the two countries for a long time.
Pan said this during the Chinese Martyrs’ Day commemoration, yesterday, at Rulindo Chinese Martyrs’ Cemetery.
Dozens of Chinese living in Rwanda visited Rulindo to commemorate their countrymen who died during aid services.
The cemetery, built in 1982, contains remains of 10 Chinese who died while working on aid projects in Rwanda, from 1982 to 1997.
The envoy said the cemetery was more than just tombs for the Chinese citizens.
“It is a monument of faith, courage and indomitable spirit of the Chinese foreign aid people in Rwanda. It is a symbol of the profound friendship between the Chinese and Rwandan peoples. It is a reflection of Chinese support and commitment to Rwandan local community,” said Pan.
He also expressed gratitude to the Rwandan people as well as the Chinese community in Rwanda for efforts and contributions made toward the construction and maintenance of the cemetery.
The envoy said that what the martyrs died working for has been achieved in the good relations that exist between China and Rwanda.
“We can tell our martyrs today, as they wished, that China-Rwanda relations have evolved into a mature partnership. Bilateral exchanges and cooperation are flourishing in political, economic, defence, cultural and many other fields,” he said.
Theophile Rurangwa, the acting director of Asia and Australia unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hailed the martyrs for sacrificing their precious lives for the Rwandan socio-economic development.
“The Government of Rwanda is honoured to be associated with this day when the Chinese people honour their martyrs, when they celebrate years of their history and unique heritage, when they remember their country which, for generations, has united many people within a diversity of cultures on such a huge territory,” he added.
Chinese Martyrs’ Day falls on September 30. Martyrs, as defined by the Chinese government, are “people who sacrificed their lives for national independence and prosperity, as well as the welfare of the people in modern times, or after First Opium War (1840-1842).”
It is estimated that China has about 20 million martyrs.
China’s legislature approved September 30 as the Martyrs’ Day in 2014, to commemorate those who lost their lives fighting for national causes.