Norman Bethune was a well-known international humanitarian. In January 1938, during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, he gave up his comfortable life and job in Canada and came to China to work for the Chinese army. Bethune, then nearly 50 years old, came to China from Vancouver with Joan Fletcher, a nurse, as a two-person medical team.
He died in November 1939 while trying to save the life of a wounded soldier in Huangshi Village, Hebei province. Mao Zedong wrote an article the following month, entitled "In Memory of Norman Bethune," praising Bethune's humanitarianism and his contribution to China's war against Japan and the war against fascism. Generations of Chinese ever since continue to be inspired by his absolute selflessness and humanitarianism, as well as his strong sense of responsibility and passion.
To commemorate Bethune, Jing Cha Ji Military Region Model Hospital was renamed Bethune International Peace Hospital, and the medical school was renamed Bethune Medical School.
In 1952, Bethune's remains were moved to northern China's Martyrs' Cemetery in Shijiazhuang, capital city of Hebei province.