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Young Musicians to Remember 'Forgotten of The Forgotten'

Their ages range from six to 17, and next week they will pay a special tribute to the thousands of their fellow Chinese countrymen who gave their lives during World War I.

The award-winning Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra, based in Liverpool, home to Europe's oldest Chinatown, will commemorate the tens of thousands who made up the Chinese Labour Corps, known as "the forgotten of the forgotten."

A century ago thousands of the men were recruited by the British government to work on the battlefields of Europe during the World War I to free troops of front line duty. Many thousands lost their lives.

The Pagoda orchestra is to lead a moving memorial to the men as a finale to a Christmas carol concert themed around the war.

The unique carol concert is to take place on Dec 10 in Liverpool at St. George's Hall where almost 200,000 people have so far viewed the Weeping Window display of ceramic red poppies.

On display during the concert will be the recently unveiled Truce statue which marks an extraordinary event on Christmas Day when British and German soldiers laid down their guns and played football together in the space between the two front lines, known as No Man's Land.

The audience will be treated to favorite War time and festive songs such as Till We Meet Again, White Christmas and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

But the most moving part of the program will be when the 25 members of the Pagoda orchestra pay their own tribute to the Chinese heroes.

Orchestra leader Liao Zilan said the orchestra will be playing four pieces of work.

A reggae song, Java, will be followed with Blooming Flower and Full Moon and Christmas favorite Jingle Bells. The finale will be the lament for fallen soldiers, the last post when slides of the Chinese Labor Corps will be projected onto a screen.

Liao told Xinhua: "All of our young people in the orchestra realise the importance of the event. They are also aware it is a Christmas Carol concert service organised as part of the Weeping Window, to commemorate the heroes of WWI heroes. It is why we are doing The Last Post in memory of the Chinese Labor Corps."

Around 140,000 Chinese people, mainly from rural communities, were recruited for the War effort to serve in France.

It was estimated 10,000 of the Chinese recruits died. Many of them remain unnamed.

Liverpool Assistant Mayor Wendy Simon said: "The Silent Night Carol Concert is set to be an emotional and uplifting evening in the surroundings of the stunning Concert Room."

An exhibition displaying photographs and stories about the Chinese Labor Corps is on show at the Chinese Pagoda in Liverpool until Dec 23.

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