A Chinese veteran's long journey home

Source
China Military
Editor
Huang Panyue
Time
2017-02-07

A family photo of Chinese veteran Wang Qi in the front of their home in India. (Photo/ Yuan Jirong)


NEW DELHI, INDIA, Feb. 7 (ChinaMil) -- "The reason why I am so eager to return to my home country is that I want to go back to my hometown and burn a stick of incense in front of my mother's grave in my remaining lifetime," said Wang Qi, a nearly 80-year-old Chinese veteran who has been stranded in India for 54 years, to reporters recently.

On the New Year's Day of 1963, Wang Qi, who was then a Chinese engineer, got lost in the woods near the border of China and India. That is where his long journey begins.

Two days later, an Indian Red Cross rescue vehicle took him away and handed him over to the Indian military, which then imprisoned him for seven years on the charge of "espionage".

After being released from prison, Wang Qi was arranged to live in a remote rural area in Madhya Pradesh in India. He later married a local woman and they had four children.

Despite getting his life back on track, Wang Qi has always missed his home country and family. Living thousands of miles away, he has never given up the idea of returning to China.

Over the past decades, he has sent tens of thousands of letters to the central and local governments of India to seek help, but the letters elicited no response.

In 2012, Wang Qi asked for help from the Chinese embassy in India. The embassy attached great importance to the situation of the old man.

However, Wang Qi was unable to provide any proof of identity after all these years past. The embassy quickly got in touch with the proper domestic departments and his relatives to verify and confirm his identity.

In May 2013, Wang Qi finally got his Chinese passport.

Luo Zhaohui, China's ambassador to India, contacted senior officials of the External Affairs Ministry of India, asking India to issue an exit permit for Wang Qi as soon as possible in a humanitarian spirit so the old man’s wish for going back home to China can be fulfilled.

“You have suffered a lot living far away from home for so many years. I would like to, on behalf of the Chinese government and the Chinese embassy in India, pay our homage to and sympathy for you," Ambassador Luo Zhaohui said to Wang Qi during a phone call on Feb. 4, 2017.

Wang Qi thanked the ambassador for his sympathy and thoughtfulness and thanked the motherland as well as the Chinese embassy for their concern.

Wang Qi's family in India also expressed their support for Wang Qi’s desire to return home, and hope to go with him to China.

Wang Qi's wife told reporter that her fate has bonded with her husband. She will definitely accompany Wang Qi wherever he goes in the future and support him no matter what it takes.

Persistence will pay off. Wang Qi has received response from the Indian government in regards to returning to his home country.

The spokesman of the External Affairs Ministry of India said on Feb 4 that the ministry will exchange views with the Ministry of Home Affairs as soon as possible on Wang Qi’s situation and will come up with a unified response.

Although the road back home is strewn with difficulties, it is believed that this Chinese veteran will achieve his aspirations for going home soon, with the efforts from all parties on the precondition of showing respect for the wishes of Wang Qi and his family.


The humble court yard of Wang Qi’s house in India. (Photo/ Yuan Jirong)

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