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Letter from Beijing

War veterans' stories threaten official history

By Helen Gao   November 2013

For the past six decades, Long Yunsong, 92, has led a solitary life in the far-flung county of Xining in south-central China. He hobbles around his shack with a walking stick and, sitting next to his chicken coop, slurps soggy instant noodles for lunch. In August 2012, an unexpected visitor knocked on his door. Jiang Nengjie, 27, video camera in hand, introduced himself and invited Long to share a decade’s worth of memories that had been sealed away for more than 60 years.

Long is a veteran soldier who fought in the Chinese Nationalist army from 1940 to 1949, first…

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