Representatives of the Chinese embassy and the Maltese government joined together on the occasion of Chinese "Qingming" or tomb-sweeping festival on Saturday to pay tribute to two fallen Chinese construction engineers in a wreath laying ceremony.
The commemorative activities are held by the Chinese Embassy in an annual ceremony that also symbolically marks the bond of friendship between the two countries, said Edward Scicluna, Maltese Finance Minister, while addressing at the ceremony in the archipelago's Santa Lucija city.
Two Chinese engineers, Xu Huizhong and Gu Yanzhao, lost their young lives during the construction of the Number Six (or "Red China") Dry Dock in the city following China's grant of an interest-free development loan to Malta for use in the project in 1979.
The solemn occasion has become a tradition for the Chinese embassy to recognize the contribution made by the Chinese engineers to the Sino-Malta relations, China's ambassador to Malta Cai Jinbiao said in his official remarks.
There is "No higher (mark of) friendship than shedding one's blood to help another country," Scicluna said, adding that the sacrifice came at a moment when Malta was changing its economy from the one based on war to on peace.
The Number Six Dry Dock has played a crucial role in Malta's ship maintenance industry as well as the country's economy as a whole.
Similar to Europe's All Souls Day on Nov. 1, "Qinming" (April 5-7) is a three-day festival of remembrance of ancestors in China.
Also in attendance at the Addolorata Cemetery were the Santa Lucija Mayor, Frederick Cutajar, representatives from the Malta-China Friendship Society and other officials and guests.