THE BIG PICTURE: It takes a village to protect the vast Chinese border

China 24

Border security is important for all countries, but especially China. The country’s expansive borders require massive effort to protect.

CGTN’s Han Bin traveled to the Xinjiang Region to learn more.

High in the Pamir Mountains, Janidin Jomajan’s family lives in the closest Chinese village to the border with Pakistan.

“I love the snowy mountains and green grassland,” Jomajan said. “I feel life is happy living in such a beautiful natural place. ”

Like many herdsmen in the village, he grazes livestock in the pasture and helps protect the border. The locals’ familiarity with the environment allows them to observe movement and changes.

The family is grateful that the China-Pakistan border enjoys stable peace.

“Starting from my father, my family has been helping the People’s Liberation Army soldiers on border security. We’ve experienced extreme cold and heat. We are honored to help them.”

The soldiers guard the Khunjerab Pass, the highest paved international border crossing in the world. Fifteen now serve at the outpost, and upgrades have been made in recent years to facilities and equipment.

Lieutenant Jiao Dongtao and his fellow soldiers know the path of duty.

They’re in charge of only 5 kilometers of borders, but it’s a crucial 5 kilometers. Reports suggest that some who have plotted attacks in Xinjiang were trained in other countries, and tried to infiltrate through Khunjerab.

“We take border security very seriously. Our company has adopted a series of measures, including extension of patrol time, increasing the number of border guards, and using herdsmen as border guards, as well as joint patrols with Pakistani soldiers,” Dongtao said. “All these are to guarantee border security and stability.”

The Tajiks live in relative isolation in the Pamir Mountain range of west China, bordering Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan. They have traditionally served as protectors for the border, while local herdsmen have also become guards.

Jomajan helps the outpost inspections for several hours a day. His main responsibility is to watch for anything or anyone suspicious.

The Khunjerab Pass has seen China-Pakistan relations strengthened through the Economic Corridor. This key section of the Korakorum Highway links China’s western frontier with Pakistan’s naval base at Gawadar.

Dongtao believes security becomes even more important as the area is further opened to trade.

“I hope we can always see peace at the Khunjerab Pass. And let our motherland and people rest assured.”