Century-old warship parts, body remains found in China

Beijing, Oct 5 (IANS) At least seven remains of bodies have been found by archaeologists from a warship sunken by the Japanese navy during a Sino-Japanese War 121 years ago.

“We believe the remains belonged to officers and soldiers aboard the warship,” Xinhua news agency quoted Zhou Chunshui, who leads the exploration organised by the state Administration of Cultural Heritage.

The “Zhiyuan” warship, with a 50-metre long hull, is located about 10 nautical miles southwest of Dandong Port in China.

More than 100 pieces of ship parts and belongings of the seamen have also been found, Zhou said.

“We will study those relics and try to find out what lives at sea were like more than a century ago,” he said.

Coded “Dandong No.1,” the 1,600-tonne vessel was one of the four warships of the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911) imperial naval forces — Beiyang Fleet — which was defeated in 1894 by the Japanese navy in the Battle of Yellow Sea.

A total of 252 officers and soldiers were aboard. Only seven survived. The four ships were China’s most sophisticated vessels at that time, bigger and better armed than the Japanese ones but slower and short of ammunition.

History documents recorded that the ship’s captain Deng Shichang refused to abandon the ship after it was severely damaged. Deng has been described as a patriot in Chinese modern history.

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