Friday, 01/03/2024 12:48

Tổng Chúp memorial a reminder of history

Former President Trương Tấn Sang (third, left) and many people attend the inauguration of the Tổng Chúp community cultural house and a memorial space. Photos

A project of building a community cultural house and a memorial space for 43 victims in a mass killing by Chinese invaders during the 1979 border war has been inaugurated at Đồng Chúp Village, Hưng Đạo Commune in Cao Bằng Province.

Attending the inauguration ceremony were former President Trương Tấn Sang, Lieutenant General and Chairman of the Việt Nam Veterans Association Bế Xuân Trường, and leaders of Cao Bằng, sponsors and people of all ethnic groups.

"With his deep affection for Cao Bằng, former President Trương Tấn Sang and sponsors and benefactors have supported our city to have a spacious cultural house," said Chairman of the Cao Bằng City People's Committee Nguyễn Thế Hoàn.

The Tổng Chúp cultural house is built on a 4,300sq.m area.

Hoàn said the 4,300sq.m project officially started in September 2023 and was completed in three months.

The project includes a main house with the traditional stilt house typical of Cao Bằng's Tày ethnic minority group to serve community activities; a hall that can accommodate up to 150 people; and a memorial altar.

Hoàn said that the original state of the bamboo bushes and existing plants were preserved to make the project a natural landscape. Total project investment was VNĐ13 billion (US$528,500) from public sources.

Former President Trương Tấn Sang (second, left) and people plant trees at the Tổng Chúp community cultural house and  memorial. 

"The project's inauguration and putting into use has responded to the long-time wishes of the local government, people of Hưng Đạo and neighbouring villages and communes," Hoàn said.

"From now on, people have a space and a cultural house to meet each other and organise cultural, artistic and sports events."

Speaking at the ceremony, former President Sang affirmed the value and significance of the project. He emphasised that the memorial project would play an important role in the life of the people of Cao Bằng and the wider country.

"Building the project is not to reiterate the feud, but to respect historical truth, and educate and build the border between the two countries which would cooperate and develop, helping the people of the two countries to have a prosperous life," Sang said.

He requested the Party Committee, authorities and people of Cao Bằng City in general and people of Đồng Chúp Village in particular manage and preserve the project, and promote its value to the highest. 

Former President Trương Tấn Sang (centre) presents gifts to local families with difficulties after the inauguration.

Sang also thanked the sponsors for supporting and contributing to the construction of the project.

Later, together with local leaders Sang presented gifts to representatives of 100 poor and underprivileged families. Relatives of eight families of the war victims also received gifts from the organising committee.

Tổng Chúp Massacre 

On March 9, 1979, on the way to withdraw from Viêt Nam, a group of Chinese soldiers cornered a group of workers working at a pig farm in the Tổng Chúp (now Đồng Chúp) area and used bamboo poles and axes to murder 43 people. Notably, most of the victims were children and women, some of whom were pregnant. Their bodies were thrown into a water well.

From the day of the massacre to the end of 2023, the scene of the murder was an area dense with trees and overgrown grass. What remained after nearly half a century was just a deserted well, an old bamboo grove, and a noticeboard about the horrific event.

Đàm Thế Chinh, head of Đồng Chúp Village, said he and his villagers were moved when hearing news about the Tổng Chúp project months ago.

Chief of Đồng Chúp Village Đàm Thế Chinh lit incense in memory of the victims of the Tổng Chúp Massacre.

They closely coordinated with and strongly supported the organising committee in the project. 

Chinh said he was honoured to be assigned to take care of and organise the operation of the cultural house and memorial area.

"This space is no longer wild and cold but is warmed up by the hearts and love of people from many cities and provinces," Chinh said.

"The altar of 43 innocent victims placed next to the altar of the national war martyrs reminds people of the value of peace. We must always respect and be grateful to the heroes who sacrificed their lives to protect every inch of our land." VNS

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