Military officer devoted to border defense in Xizang, accomplishing CPC member duty by serving the people
Published: Jul 31, 2022 06:41 PM
Editor's Note:

Who is the Communist Party of China (CPC)? What is the CPC's role in the new era?

The CPC has grown into one of the largest parties in the world in the process of leading the Chinese people in seeking liberation and happiness, making China as strong and prosperous as it is today. 

As the CPC ushers the nation into a new era of development, the past decade has witnessed great achievements in national strength and prosperity, with the people's confidence and recognition of this path rising to unprecedentedly high levels. 

With more than 96 million members, the CPC will convene its 20th National Congress in the second half of the year, which is expected to guide the country's development and policymaking. Ahead of the meeting, the Global Times is publishing a series of stories to help the world understand the CPC in the new era, through the stories of CPC members working on the frontlines of various fields, as well as through observations made by respected scholars.

In this story, a military officer garrisoned at the border region of Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region illustrated his story answering the top commander's call to safeguard the homeland, strengthen national defense, and build the inseparable tie between military and the civilians.

"A CPC member is a flag." On the frontline of China's border defense, this sentence has been endowed with a far more special meaning.

In the most remoted regions of China, in mountains and snow-capped peaks, from generation to generation, border defense soldiers have been guarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity with firm faith and spirit. Among them are CPC members who perform as the pioneers, role models, and the leaders in the harshest of living and working conditions.

Border soldiers in Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region Photo: VCG

Border soldiers in Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region Photo: VCG

Gao Xinjun is one of the CPC members who have devoted themselves to the work of border defense and border construction in Xizang.

Now the political commissar at the department of the people's armed forces in Nyalam county under the Xigaze military sub-command of Xizang military command, Gao has witnessed the practice and achievement of the call of strengthening the national defense. He has also experienced and contributed to the consolidation of shared sentiments between the servicemen and local residents.

Performing duties on frontline

Gao, 49, was born in East China's Shandong Province and was enlisted in December 1993. He had been garrisoned in Shenyang, capital of Northeast China's Liaoning Province and was awarded several merits for his excellent work in the military. 

In 2019, Gao was offered an opportunity to transfer to Xizang. While knowing the difficulties working in the high plateau, Gao did not hesitate to take the task.

He was assigned to Nyalam, a remote town neighboring Nepal with a long border line. The small county with a population of 17,000 is famous for its Zhangmu port and being the destination of China's National Highway 318, which starts from Shanghai and is known as China's "Heavenly Road" for its amazing views.

However, Nyalam, 3,810 meters above the sea level, is also far from everything. Even the closest airport in Xigaze would take seven hours of drive.

But a lack of oxygen does not mean a lack of enthusiasm for work. 

In recent years, Gao and his comrades in arms have kept their original aspirations and their mission in mind, actively practicing the duties of promoting national unity and the fortification of the border.

The view of Nyalam county, Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region Photo: VCG

The view of Nyalam county, Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region Photo: VCG

As a leader of the people's armed forces department at the border frontline, he would concentrate on battle preparation and improving the combat preparedness of the department, bringing into full play its functions of "fight in wartime, respond in emergency, and serve in peacetime."

In response to the border situation, he personally leads officers, soldiers, and militiamen to carry out patrol activities along the front line of the border twice a year, effectively fortifying the control of border mountain passes and passages. They have been holding actual combat emergency training and stability maintenance drills, which effectively improved border defense capabilities.

Moreover, in order to further strengthen national defense education, every year, during the major festivals, Gao and his colleagues would promote national defense education on campuses of primary and secondary schools in the county.

Over the years, Gao has witnessed the improvement of living and working standards in border troops. For instance, infrastructural developments in the border region have been fully upgraded, and Gao and his comrades in arms have been enjoying equipment with high technologies that could help with their work in low-oxygen and low-temperature environment, such as the newest thermal coat and oxygenator.

Chinese President Xi Jinping urged border troops to guard the country's borders well and make new contributions to the Party and the people in September, 2021, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks in his reply letter to a model battalion of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) stationed in the plateau region.

Border troops are on the frontline of strengthening China's national defense and shoulder massive responsibilities, said Xi in the letter. He called on them to continue to strengthen their sense of responsibility, carrying forward fine traditions, and enhancing their combat readiness in order to perform their duties well.

The 'fish and water' ties

During his time in active duty, Gao always bears in mind how a serviceman and a CPC member should be connected with the people.

"To govern the country well, we must first govern the frontiers well, and to govern the frontiers well we must first ensure stability in Xizang" has been an important strategy in China.

Gao uses Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and Xi Jinping's thought of building a strong military as his guide of action. He takes supporting the government, loving the people, and enhancing national unity as the primary political responsibility and the "top-in-command" work, which effectively promoted the national defense, economic and social development of Nyalam.

Border soldiers in Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region Photo: VCG

Gao Xinjun (right) and a local resident in Nyalam Photo: Courtesy of Gaoder soldiers in Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region Photo: VCG

Ever since he was assigned to Xizang Military Command in 2019, Gao regularly visits the homes of military family members to help solve the difficulties and worries in their life in a timely manner, in order to ensures that the enlisted men can serve in the army with peace of mind. 

In October 2019, he made a special trip to several townships in Nyalam to visit families of active servicemen despite the long journey of plateau hypoxia. He sent rice, flour, grain, oil, and other holiday foods to the families, who truly felt the warmth of the Party and the government. 

Gao often uses his own savings to help others. He told the Global Times that "helping others and being kind to them is helping ourselves. It is the necessary duty of being a CPC member and a serviceman."

People who have received helps from Gao said that "it is the army that has cultivated such a good comrade. He is truly a good cadre of the CPC and a caring person toward us."

Strengthening national defense

Gao has always done his job well with a strong sense of responsibility and professionalism no matter what his position was. He studies diligently, dares to endure hardships, and pays close attention to the implementation of the work.

Along with his work, Gao has been constantly improving his theoretical cultivation and ideological awareness, and consolidates his theoretical foundation. "In any situation, I would listen to the Party, follow the Party, and be absolutely loyal and reliable to the Party," he said.

During a meeting with NPC deputies from the military in 2013, Xi put forward the goal of building strong armed forces under new conditions, saying that the people's armed forces should obey the Party's command, be able to fight and win, and maintain excellent conduct.



To achieve this goal, Xi ordered the Chinese armed forces to uphold the absolute leadership of the Party, deepen reforms, boost innovation in technology, cultivate high-quality and professional military personnel, and strengthen combat readiness.

In 2018, Xi told the military deputies that the troops should strengthen their training and be ready to fight at any time, adding that "combat readiness never comes from leisure hours."

Following Xi's orders, the Chinese military has placed great emphasis on combat effectiveness, improved its command systems and capacity for joint operations, and strengthened training under combat conditions.

According to a three-step development strategy for modernizing China's national defense and armed forces, the centenary objectives of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) should be achieved by 2027, the modernization of national defense and the armed forces should be basically completed by 2035, and China's armed forces will be fully transformed into world-class forces by the mid-21st century.