Thanh Nien newspaper on Sunday held a meeting with the families of three Vietnamese soldiers killed during a Chinese attack on Gac Ma (Johnson South Reef or Chigua Reef) – a reef in the Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands, 24 years ago. Nguyen Quang Thong, Thanh Nien’seditor-in-chief and deputy chairman of the Vietnam Youth Federation, and Nguyen Phuoc Loc, chairman of the federation, attended the meeting and presented gifts to the families living in the central province of Ha Tinh. The three soldiers – Dao Kim Cuong, born in 1955, Nguyen Van Thanh and Nguyen Thanh Hai, both born in 1967 – were killed on March 14, 1988 when Chinese soldiers launched a military campaign against Vietnam’s Gac Ma, Len Dao (Lansdowne Reef) and Co Lin (Johnson North/Collins Reef) in a flagrant effort to seize the Spratly Islands and gain control over the entire East Sea. They, along with 61 other Vietnamese soldiers, sacrificed their lives defending the islands. Thanks to their brave resistance, Vietnam maintained its sovereignty over Len Dao and Co Lin, while China began their occupation of Gac Ma. Thanh Nien and local philanthropists, including the Vietnam Rubber Group, the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) and the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank), have recently been organizing meetings with the families of all 64 martyrs living in various parts of the country to commemorate the sacrifice their loved ones made.