China celebrates new holiday of Martyr's Day

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BEIJING (AP) — President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders solemnly presented flower baskets Tuesday at the People's Heroes Monument in central Beijing to mark Martyr's Day, one of three new holidays created this year in a renewed focus on World War II.

Scores of ordinary people also lined up at Tiananmen Square to lay single flowers at the monument in Tuesday's nationally televised ceremony.

The other two holidays created this year, marking the Japanese surrender and the massacre of civilians by Japanese forces in Nanjing, refer specifically to China's fight against Japanese occupiers and were created during a Chinese government campaign to highlight what it has called a renewed militarism by Japan.

Tuesday's holiday has no explicit anti-Japanese theme, however, and refers generally to "heroes who gave their lives to national independence."

It falls on the day before China's National Day holiday, a several-day stretch known as the Golden Week when government offices and many businesses are closed.

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