The sight of the elderly war veterans in their baggy uniforms contrasts sharply with the vision of modern China that has grown up around them.
The years of starvation and conflict seem like distant history, in a country that is now the world's second largest economy, as well as home to billionaires, gleaming sky-scrapers, luxury shopping malls and brand new airports.
The veterans at the Henan Provincial Military Hospital say China's newest generation know little of the hardships they suffered in Korea.
"Young people? Of course they don't know," says You, the former infantry soldier who once escorted imprisoned American GIs. "These wars took place decades ago. All the young people have no idea."
Asked whether Koreans understood the sacrifice Chinese troops had made, the veteran shakes his head "no."
"What do the Koreans know?" You asks himself out loud. "They know what the Korean (government) tells the Korean people."
This modern-day ambivalence towards North Korea is echoed by some Chinese intellectuals.
Recently, Deng Yuwen openly challenged the Chinese government's alliance with North Korea in writing. Partly as a result, he lost his job as deputy editor of the Study Times, a journal published by the Communist Party.
"The current laissez-faire attitude the U.S. and China have towards North Korea is comparable to that of (former British Prime Minister Neville) Chamberlain towards Germany before World War II," Deng said, in a recent interview with CNN.
If Pyongyang continues threatening its Asian neighbors, Deng argued, Beijing should take steps to reign in the regime, like freezing North Korean accounts in Chinese banks.
"The unpredictability of North Korea's policies prove its nature is dangerous," Deng said.
Veterans who risked their lives for North Korea more than half a century ago have little to say about the current government in Pyongyang.
But they do not seem to hold a grudge against their former American enemies.
When asked by an American reporter whether he had any message for the U.S., Duan responds by saying, "the Americans are peaceful people."
Next to him, several of his fellow veterans nod in agreement.
"I think the Americans did not want to go to war (in Korea). War is death."
Asked whether he feared war might once again break out on the Korean Peninsula, Duan expresses confidence that the Chinese government would prevent hostilities from erupting.
"The central government will handle it. It is guided by the ideas of Mao Zedong," he says, referring to the founder of Communist China.
"Big countries don't want war and we're against war and this is what we've been taught."