白求恩 (Bái Qiú Ēn) is the Chinese name for Norman Bethune, a Canadian so respected in China that numerous medical colleges are named after him.
Born and raised in Canada, Bethune volunteered in World War I and in the Spanish Civil War, where he organized mobile blood transfusion facilities and invented many new surgical instruments.
His Communist ideals led him to China in 1938, where he joined Máo Zédōng at his revolutionary base at Yán’ān, from where the Communists were simultaneously resisting the Japanese invasion and trying to overthrow the Nationalists led by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.
Bethune is remembered for his selflessness, and for donating his own blood to the wounded. He died of blood poisoning after cutting himself during an operation, and Máo wrote “In memory of Norman Bethune” in his praise. The essay remains core curriculum, memorized by primary school students all over China.
Doctor, inventor, comrade. Xinhua