In South Korea, the bodies of fallen Chinese soldiers who fought on the side of North Korea are being exhumed and returned during a relative diplomatic thaw between the two countries:
“These are the graves of Chinese and North Korean soldiers who died in that most brutal of civil wars between 1950 and 1953. All wars are brutal of course, but the Korean War particularly so. It divided families and villages. Brother slaughtered brother. The fighting was often at night in sub-zero temperatures. Attacks were signalled by a sudden bugle in the terrifying darkness. The fighting was bayonet to bayonet, kill or be killed.
Those from North Korea and its ally, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, whose remains were found in what is now South Korea were buried in the cemetery under, the sign there says, the Geneva Conventions and in the spirit of humanitarianism.
That spirit was not obvious until recently. For decades the enemy cemetery, as it was known, was just a field of rows of graves – mounds of earth marked with white wooden posts, often tilting and rotten.
But as relations with China improved proper gravestones were placed. Today the stones only mark where the graves once were. The remains beneath have now been removed and returned to China to be buried at what’s called the Resist America and Help Korean Martyrs Cemetery in the city of Shenyang.”
The Koreans who fought for the North, or at least their corpses, are having no such luck as relations between the two neighboring countries are at something of a relative low these days.
Back in the 1930’s, many Koreans went north to fight alongside the Chinese against the Japanese occupation.