Centenarian wartime overseas Chinese mechanic passes away

KUNMING, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) — Luo Kaihu, one of the overseas Chinese mechanics known as the Nanyang Volunteers in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, died on Thursday at the age of 102.

The Nanyang Volunteers refer to some 3,000 overseas Chinese drivers and mechanics living in Southeast Asian countries who were rallied by famous business pioneer and philanthropist Tan Kah Kee to “help the motherland in her hour of need” in 1939 during the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.

These volunteers returned to China in nine batches, helping transport war supplies and carry out emergency repairs of vehicles along the 1,146-km Yunnan-Myanmar Road, a critical lifeline that became a major target of Japanese airstrikes.

Luo, born in Wenchang City in south China’s island province of Hainan, went to Malaysia to earn a living in 1934. He joined the eighth batch of mechanics in July 1939 and received short-term training in Kunming, the capital city of Yunan, before going to the battlefield. Many of the Nanyang Volunteers died during their service.

Luo, believed to be the last Nanyang volunteer in Yunnan, had lived and worked in China since then and retired in 1978 from a local hardware company in Kunming.

Late last month, Zhang Xiulong, the only remaining overseas Chinese mechanic in Hainan, died at the age of 102.

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