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Slain soldier's remains returned to Shandong

Updated: 2015-08-03 07:35
By Ju Chuanjiang and Chen Mengwei in Jinan (China Daily)

Slain soldier's remains returned to Shandong

Zhang Nan's family member holds his deadee during the funeral in Jinan, Shandong province, on Sunday. Zhang Wei / for China Daily

Among the dozens of people waiting in the funeral parlor's courtyard to see Zhang one last time was Zhu Chengrong, 60, whom Zhang has called "Mother Zhu" since they met seven years ago in the army. Zhu held a placard saying, "Nannan, Mama misses you", referring to Zhang by his nickname

"He was a great son. He never said too much about his thoughts, but deep down inside him I could feel he knew what he was doing." Zhu said, tears rolling from her red eyes. "His hometown was in Hebei province. Whenever a festival came, I'd invite him to come over to my place for a reunion."

Zhu said that in 2013, she matched Zhang with a girlfriend, a middle school teacher in Linyi, Shandong, but Zhang soon left for the mission in Somalia. Zhu said she "dared not face the woman" after Zhang was killed.

Wang Qi, 25, who served in the eight-man security team with Zhang in Somalia and was injured in the bombing attack, said Zhang was "the best and the pride" of his team.

"Before the accident, he told me that he wanted to take exams to join the SWAT force when he returned to China, so he could continue serving his motherland with everything he had," Wang said, slowing as he recalled the last words from his brother in arms.

"And he said many times that he wanted to go back to his hometown in Hebei to take care of his elderly parents. He wanted to be a good son," Wang added.

While guarding the embassy in Somalia on April 14, 2015, Zhang was shot in the chest. The bullet missed his heart by a centimeter and almost took his life.

While recovering in the hospital, Zhang wrote a letter to his commander in China, saying he wanted to stay with his teammates and finish the mission, said Wang Aiguo, political commissar of the armed police corps of Shandong.

Saturday marked the anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army in 1927.

Contact the writers at chenmengwei@chinadaily.com.cn and juchuanjiang@chinadaily.com.cn

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