General wins admiration of enemy for iron will
General Yang Jingyu, originally named Ma Shangde, was a national hero who led the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).
In February 1940, Yang was killed in battle. The Japanese dissected his body, finding only undigested grass roots, cotton batting and tree bark left in his stomach, and not a single grain of rice, as he had eaten nothing for five consecutive days before dying.
Yang's persistence earned the tribute of his mortal foes, who held a memorial ceremony after his death.
The Japanese commander Ryuichiro Kishitani was so shocked at the revelation that he "went silent, and appeared to have aged a lot within the next day". Kishitani once wrote: "China has steely soldiers like Yang Jingyu, and it would not fall."