A group of humanitarian doctors and nurses, including representatives from Victoria, travelled to China last month to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the death of controversial Canadian doctor Norman Bethune.
The group retraced the footsteps of the legendary doctor and held free medical clinics in some of the same remote, impoverished villages served by Bethune.
Bethune, or Baiqiuen as he’s called in Mandarin, is still, arguably, the No. 1 foreign hero in China. In the late 1930’s he supported the Chinese in their War of Resistance against foreign aggression.
An ardent despiser of fascism, Bethune travelled on foot in rugged guerilla terrain, his hospital equipment and supplies carried by horses. Operating rooms were set up in peasant huts or Buddhist temples as near to the front as possible.
Bethune served the anti-fascist cause until he contracted septicaemia from an accidental surgical cut. He died Nov. 12, 1939.
Now, the Bethune Baiqiuen Canadian Alliance is keeping the legacy of Dr. Bethune alive.
Dr. Grant Stewart, founding member and retired trauma surgeon, will speak on the group’s recent trip to China at a dinner meeting in Victoria on Dec. 7.
He will relate the organization’s ongoing health-care assistance in China, which includes providing medical and financial aid for children with neuromuscular skeletal disabilities, as well as educational materials and sports equipment to impoverished children in remote villages.
The meeting will be held at Golden City Restaurant. For more information, please call 778-433-0111 or email Rmm904@gmail.com. Tickets are $22 for members or $25 for non-members.