Chinese Monument, Poperinge
History (Source: Wikipedia)
Forgotten Chinese Labor Corps of WWI get recognition after 100 years
A statue was erected in Belgium on Wednesday to honor a group of young Chinese who rested in an almost forgotten part of World War I history for the past century. The statue in the village of Busseboom in west Belgium's Poperinge is a memorial to 13 Chinese labors killed during a German bombardment on November 15, 1917 in the village. The statue depicts three laborers doing the most common jobs for them in the battlefields – carrying shells, digging trenches and evacuating wounded soldiers.
The 13 people were among the 20,000 Chinese laborers who lost their lives in Europe during WWI, who shared the name of "Chinese Labor Corps of WWI." In the last two years of WWI, some 140,000 Chinese laborers came to Europe to provide logistical services to the Allied Forces, who at that time were suffering a severe manpower shortage. They worked seven days a week, 10-18 hours a day – and only had three days off the whole year around. Some died of illness from the tough working conditions, others from attacks like the one in Poperinge. Although they were not directly involved in the battles, quite often they worked very closely to the front-line, sometimes only 50 meters from enemies,