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Cluster of Flying Tigers Relics Found in Yunnan

Experts studying the history of the Flying Tigers in China said they have discovered the largest and most concentrated cluster of relics sites related to the legendary US volunteer air squadron, which helped China fight Japanese invaders during World War II.

More than 10 sites were found in Wulongpu village of Chenggong, a district of Kunming that is more than 30 kilometers from downtown Kunming, according to Sun Guansheng, director of the Yunnan Flying Tigers Research Institute.

The sites include the remnants of the Flying Tigers Command, its encampment and the Chenggong airport, built between 1940 and 1941 for their use, he said.

The experts also found a facility near the Chenggong airport that was used to store gasoline, bombs and machine-gun bullets.

The findings were made thanks to years-long efforts including on-site investigations, talks with witnesses and checks of memoirs and documents by a team of experts, led by Sun, from the Yunnan Flying Tigers Research Institute and the Yunnan Flying Tigers Museum.

"The discovery is of important historical and cultural value, and these relics sites are testimony to the friendship and cooperation between the Chinese and US people," Sun said.

All the relics sites lack proper protection, Sun said, adding that funds and policy support are urgently needed.

The Flying Tigers, the American Volunteer Group led by General Claire Chennault, harassed the Japanese forces from the air from August 1941 to July 1942.

The pilots, all former members of the US Army Air Corps, Navy or Marine Corps, participated in more than 100 battles, shooting down 272 Japanese aircraft and destroying another 225 on the ground.