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Forgotten story Chinese soldiers who fought and died in First World War told in show at Folkestone Quarterhouse

By Matt Leclere

Mention the Western Front and images of miles of trenches, British, French and German men caked in mud are conjured.

But the story of a forgotten contribution by thousands of Chinese is being retold and recreated in a show in Kent tonight.

The Project New Earth performance by the Chinese Art Space (CAS) company plays at the Folkestone Quarterhouse at 7.30pm.

A show in Folkestone will tell and highlight the stories of the Chinese Labour Corps who were based in the town during the First World War. Picture Chinese Arts Space

A show in Folkestone will tell and highlight the stories of the Chinese Labour Corps who were based in the town during the First World War. Picture: Chinese Arts Space

It will hail a significant and poignant performance for the Chinese actors, actresses and dancers.

A century ago their forefathers from the Chinese Labour Corps were based in the town.

The forgotten stories of the work these young men carried out on the Western Front is being brought to life through this new show.

Around 140,000 men from the poorest parts of China were recruited by the French and British armies to work behind the lines on the Western Front.

Although they were not sent to fight on the frontline some 5,000 men were killed through shelling, accidents and disease.

Chinese troops photographed on the Western Front during the First World War. Picture Chinese Art Space

Chinese troops photographed on the Western Front during the First World War. Picture: Chinese Art Space

There are Chinese troops buried in the military cemetery at Shorncliffe.

David Tse, creative director of CAS, said: "The artists are creatively celebrating the memory of these forgotten heroes.

"The Chinese Labour Corps did backbreaking work to help the Allies defeat the forces of aggression. They were the largest overseas labour force and we owe them a huge debt of thanks for bringing peace much earlier to war-torn Europe.

"Thousands of them paid the ultimate sacrifice and are buried across France, Belgium and England including some in Folkestone."

For more on the performance at the Quarterhouse tonight (Thursday) go to the venue's website or call the box office. Tickets are priced £10.

 

 

 

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