Workers find mass grave site in central Beijing


BEIJING, AFP

Workers in Beijing have stumbled on a mass grave site in the city center, believed to be the final resting place of soldiers from both Chinese and Japanese armies during the last World War, state press reported Sunday.

The “pit of 10,000 corpses” — the non-literal Chinese name for a mass grave — is believed to be mostly of Japanese soldiers, but could also contain soldiers of China’s Nationalist Army and some local civilians, the Beijing Morning Post said on its Web site.

Workers building a drainage channel in the central Chaoyang District, discovered the mass grave last week. Work was immediately halted to make way for an investigation into the identities of the dead.

Photographs showed mounds of skulls and bones, but numerous stories in the local press failed to pinpoint the number of dead believed to be buried at the site.

The site of the mass grave was adjacent to the Chaoyang Hospital and the Beijing Worker’s Stadium. Before 1949, a temple and a graveyard reportedly was located at the site.

“Pits of 10,000 corpses” are periodically dug up around China, a testament to the brutal wars and calamities that have plagued the country throughout its long history.