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Patrolling The Mekong ep.2: Border control police balance work and life in isolated area

Reporter: Meng Qingsheng 丨 CCTV.com

12-19-2016 12:23 BJT

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Joint Patrol and Law Enforcement initiative on the Mekong River. In December 2011, security authorities in China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand launched the initiative after around 8 gunmen stormed two Chinese vessels and killed thirteen sailors. In today’s episode, CCTV's Meng Qingsheng visits a waterfront guard post to meet border patrol officers to see how they strike a balance between work and their personal lives in an isolated part of China.

Sailing downstream along the upper Mekong. Number One Guard Post comes into view. Nine border control police officers work here, each serving a stint of one month. They have to stand the isolation and some other difficulties - for example there’s no constant power supply or internet connection. This is Sun Hao's thirtieth time working at this guard post.

"To be a soldier, you really experience some difficulties. We built this guard post brick by brick, and transformed the place we live in. It’s quite a happy thing," Sun said.

Their routine work includes patrolling the river, and monitoring passing ships. For Sun Hao, he is soon to finish his stint, and will then return to his regular work at a port on the upper reaches of the river. But it’s still far away from his home town in east China’s Jiangsu Province, over two thousand kilometers away.

"I don't have enough time with my wife and daughter. The only means to contact them is by phoning them. That’s all I can do for now," Sun said.

Three kilometers downstream from this guard post is the border which separates China, Myanmar and Laos. The policemen stationed here conduct checks on ships entering and leaving China. The workload is heavy, but life here isn't all about work.

The border police are sent weekly supplies from head office. But sometimes, such as during severe weather, they have to make do without. So to survive, they raise livestock and grow their own vegetables in the backyard.

"The secret to my adapting to this environment so quickly is that I always think about the positive aspects of life here. We have grown fruits like papaya, and raise livestock by ourselves. We really need to count our blessings," Chinese Border police Guo Caiwen said.

Guo Caiwen is now on cooking duty. He has tried to pick up new recipes to satisfy the tastes of all the officers working here.

"Some of my colleagues are from northern China. They have an appetite for food which includes a lot of wheat. I take some yeast here to make steamed buns. They feel happy, and so do I," Guo said.

They have also developed their own forms of entertainment. But there’s always someone on duty keeping a close eye on the Mekong River.

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