Like Galsang flowers: Delegate to 20th CPC National Congress from Xizang vows to guard border, proud of hometown's development in last decade
Published: Oct 23, 2022 08:21 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 last decade has witnessed great achievements in national strength and prosperity, with people's confidence and recognition of this path rising to unprecedentedly high levels. 

With more than 96 million members, the CPC concluded its 20th National Congress, which has realized the goals of unifying thinking, fortifying confidence, charting the course and boosting morale. 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.

This installment tells the story of a grassroots delegate to the 20th CPC National Congress from a village in Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region, who has devoted her life to defending the border for decades, and has witnessed the tremendous development in border regions thanks to favorable policies and great support from the country under the leadership of the CPC.

A billboard that reads

A billboard that reads "home is Yumai, country is China" on the mountain of Yumai, Lhunze county in Xizang Autonomous Region Photo: VCG

For many years, Zhuoga, her sister Yangzong, and their father, had been the only residents in Yumai.

It was one of China's smallest townships, sitting at the southern foot of the Himalayas. The family herded livestock for a living.  

Despite its remoteness, the family never gave up on living there, and has acted as guardians of the country's border area for half a century.

However, thanks to border construction in recent years, the remote village has now taken on a new look. With improved transportation and infrastructure, Yumai has finished building a moderately prosperous border village, with a population of about 200 and an average annual income of 40,000 yuan ($6,347) per person as of 2021.

"In recent years, Yumai has undergone tremendous changes. With all these changes, we are grateful for the care and concern of the Party and the General Secretary Xi Jinping, which have allowed our people who live at the borders to have a happy life today," Zhuoga said during the 20th CPC National Congress.

Firm border defenders

Yumai in Lhunze county, Shannan, in Xizang Autonomous Region, used to be the township with the smallest population in China. 

At an altitude of 3,500 meters, the township, bordering India, possesses the beauty of a semitropical ecological environment.

"Yumai has a typical alpine climate with a harsh environment, lacking in supplies, and permeated with isolation in the mountains. Moreover, it faced the risk of aggressive border encroachment. But we did not back down because of this. We always remember the teachings of our elder generation, regarding the country as more important than our own lives, and guarding the country by grazing and patrolling," Zhuoga, a Yumai resident and a 20th CPC National Congress delegate, told the Global Times.

Her father, who used to be the head of the township, instilled in her the attitude that "protecting the land beneath your feet is to protect your country," and so Zhuoga braved wind and snow, and persisted in her career. 

In 2021, she was awarded the July 1 Medal - the highest honor in the CPC. "The trust of the general secretary and the wishes of my father are my spiritual sustenance," she said.

In 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping encouraged Zhuoga's family to set down roots in the border area, safeguard the Chinese territory, and develop their hometown, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Xi, also general secretary of the Central Committee of the CPC and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks in a reply delivered to the Tibetan herders, after they wrote to him introducing their township.

"Without peace in the territory, there will be no peaceful lives for the millions of families," Xi wrote.

He hoped that the family would motivate more herders to set down roots in the border area "like galsang flowers," and become guardians of the Chinese territory and constructors of a happy hometown.

Zhuoga and Yangzong wrote a letter to Xi while the 19th CPC National Congress was in session in Beijing, telling him their experiences in safeguarding the border area and the development of their township over the years.

Zhuoga, a delegate to the 20th CPC National Congress from Xizang Photo: VCG

Zhuoga, a delegate to the 20th CPC National Congress from Xizang Photo: VCG

Yumai's new look

Zhuoga once showed a planning map of Yumai at the "two sessions." Now, the blueprint has become a reality — the once three-person township is now home to over 240 people in 67 households. 

The former earthen and wooden cottages have been transformed into brand-new two-story houses with gardens. Oil lamps have been replaced by electric lamps, and dirt roads have become asphalt streets. Villagers can now shop online and use e-payment just like urban residents. 

Thanks to the Party's good policies and the strong support of Party committees and governments at all levels, households in Yumai now have set up family hotels, opened up restaurants and shops. They also now have cars for transportation, Zhuoga introduced.

In 2017, the General Office of the State Council issued a plan for promoting the development of border area and enriching the people there, which made a comprehensive arrangement to further support and accelerate the development of border areas.

Living conditions have improved too. In 2021, the per capita annual income of the township reached nearly 40,000 yuan ($6,347), with a new kindergarten and primary school built for local children.

Adhering to the firm belief of "home is Yumai, country is China," more and more local people, especially young people, have joined the team guarding the border - after graduation from university, Zhuoga's eldest daughter returned to Yumai to devote herself to rural vitalization; and her nephew became a local civil servant.

Residents in Yumai never forget their duties of safeguarding and constructing the border area. "Everyone is a guard, every household is a post, the whole township is a fortress, grazing is a patrol, and production is our duty," has been the vivid picture of Yumai people.

Dancers present?hada, traditional silk scarves used to express respect and greeting, during a musical based on the story of Zhuoga and Yangzong on May 31, 2022.?Photo: Xinhua

Dancers present?hada, traditional silk scarves used to express respect and greeting, during a musical based on the story of Zhuoga and Yangzong on May 31, 2022.?Photo: Xinhua

Strong support

This year, Zhuoga became a delegate to the 20th CPC National Congress.

When she came to Beijing, Zhuoga brought a traditional milk product she made herself, hoping to let more people know more about her beautiful hometown. 

"I am a CPC member and also a herdsman from the southwestern border of the country," Zhuoga said, "I am very honored and proud to be able to participate in the 20th CPC National Congress. In light of the revolutionary changes in Yumai since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, I would like to talk about my own experiences and feelings."

"The Party and the country have always been our strongest supporters. Especially with the care and concern from General Secretary Xi and the CPC Central Committee, and the full support of Party committees and governments at all levels, we have won the battle against poverty as scheduled and achieved moderate prosperity," Zhuoga said.

"In the past, the biggest problem in our Yumai was the transportation problem. Now the village is connected by roads, which is very convenient. The housing conditions in Yumai are very good, and they have all been developed by the country for us," she said.

As a delegate, Zhuoga said that she would bring the blessings of the border residents to the motherland and to Beijing, and she would also bring the spirit of the 20th CPC National Congress and the care of the Party Central Committee back to her hometown. 

"For us border people, the country is our mother. We have an obligation and responsibility to protect every inch of the frontier of the motherland," Zhuoga said. "We have firm faith and will work together to continue to bloom on the border of the motherland like Galsang flowers," she said.