‘Metal Knife Group’ at slicing fringe of service | In-Depth China
Members of an elite squad with the Yunnan Folks’s Armed Police Power are on the forefront of operations.
Squad members raise tree trunks throughout a coaching session to reinforce their bodily energy. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
The First Squadron of the Third Detachment of the Yunnan Folks’s Armed Police Power was granted the title “The Metal Knife Group” in 1979 by the Central Army Fee for its efforts in guarding the nation’s southwestern border.
Within the intervening years, the squadron has devoted itself to a variety of duties, together with combating floods and offering catastrophe reduction.
China Day by day spoke with two present officers and one former member of the workforce to learn the way their lives have been modified and improved after becoming a member of the well-known unit.
Squad members perform an assault drill as a part of an assault course. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
Lu Xueliang: discovering his personal value
Lu Xueliang, 28, served within the squadron for eight years. He mentioned he nonetheless feels a surge of emotion when he recollects the distinguished workforce and the efforts he made striving to uphold its popularity.
After becoming a member of the power in 2010, Lu undertook numerous duties, withstood temptation when provided bribes at customs posts and risked his life offering help within the wake of pure disasters.
Earlier than, I did no matter I wished and was self-centered. Now, I belong to a workforce. Everybody has a particular high quality, which suggests we all the time talk about issues and ask one another for recommendation to attain our targets
Deng Jun, Yunnan Folks’s Armed Police Power officer
From 2016 to 2017, he and his colleagues have been liable for safety at a customs submit in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, the place they checked people and automobiles deemed suspicious. They needed to guard towards every kind of temptations and threats to their security.
“The amount of passenger site visitors was massive, and numbers reached about 700,000 individuals a day. Our activity was extraordinarily arduous,” Lu mentioned.
“Outsiders can not think about what we confronted daily－bribery makes an attempt, affords of sexual favors, and threats to our lives. These have been all of the work of smugglers who wished us to show a blind eye to their commerce.”
Temptation was positioned in his path a number of occasions.
Someday, two younger males adopted him right into a secluded space. They informed him that they knew troopers earned meager salaries they usually might present him a approach to make straightforward cash.
“I do not know what they have been smuggling, however they provided me a financial institution card with about 20,000 yuan (US$2,920) on it and promised extra. I refused and reported the method to my superior,” he mentioned.
Lu’s comrades additionally confronted temptations, akin to being provided watches that retailed for about 2 million yuan every, diamonds and iPhones.
Typically they have been focused by ladies who tried to keep away from the customs checks by providing sexual favors, and smugglers who turned emotional and threatened them with knives. The approaches have been all the time reported and lots of smugglers have been apprehended.
“We needed to conduct ourselves honorably as a result of we had an obligation to not convey discredit to our squadron,” Lu mentioned.
Lu Xueliang. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
In 2014, he took half in a rescue operation after mudslides in Shangri-La, Yunnan province. For eight days and nights, he cleaned up particles and helped to resettle individuals and their property.
“Earlier than that, I had solely seen catastrophe reduction work on TV. I used to be fearful about my security and likewise nervous as a result of it was the primary such activity I had undertaken,” he mentioned.
“I used to be shocked by the scene, the place homes had collapsed and useless pigs floated within the water. I carried sandbags to construct an embankment. It rained constantly and the sand blended with the water in my uniform and saved rubbing my pores and skin. We slept on the scene, which left us muddy and smelly.”
He was impressed by, and happy with, the native individuals. They gave the PAP officers a heat welcome and even introduced baskets of boiled eggs, which they handed out to the exhausted rescuers.
Lu, from Qujing, Yunnan, joined the PAP as a result of he admired his older brother, who can also be member of the power.
His mother and father disagreed together with his resolution as a result of they did not suppose he might endure the hardship. That they had spoiled him a bit of at dwelling and would not even let him do farm work.
“On my first day on the PAP base, I form of agreed with my mother and father. I used to be required to stand up at 6:20 am, however I felt I could not open my eyes that early. The bodily coaching was additionally past my potential. I did not give up, although, as a result of it had been my selection,” he mentioned.
In 2018, he was transferred to a different workforce within the detachment, however he believes his eight years within the squadron made him a brand new individual and helped him uncover his personal value.
“I gave up smoking and I turned a part of essentially the most treasured brotherhood within the PAP. Now I’m serving in one other squadron, and I’ll go on that spirit to new recruits wherever I’m,” he mentioned.
Officers wrestle in a river to develop fight expertise. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
Lengthy Kanghua: reluctant recruit
When Lengthy Kanghua graduated from highschool, his father signed him up for the Yunnan Folks’s Armed Police Power with out telling him.
“Turning into a PAP officer was my father’s dream, not mine. I could not settle for the truth that I used to be going into the power. My dad actually favored the concept of signing me up with out informing me first－perhaps as a result of he thought I used to be naive and too playful,” Lengthy mentioned.
On the time, Lengthy was boarding at a highschool in Pu’er metropolis, Yunnan, and his father was working as an architect within the Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture about two hours’ drive away. In consequence, they hardly ever communicated.
Lengthy spent most of his time at college enjoying basketball, chatting and hanging out with mates.
After he joined the PAP in 2018, he realized how ignorant he had been about his household and his profession prospects.
“I’ve obtained a whole lot of coaching that has improved my endurance ranges and taught me to be impartial,” the 20-year-old mentioned.
“I’ve additionally discovered the correct approach to work together with individuals. Extra essential, I began to care about my household extra and our ties turned nearer. I can solely get entry to telephones at sure hours, however every time I can get a telephone I’ve video chats with my mother and father about their lives at dwelling and mine within the power.”
Lengthy Kanghua. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
His mother and father have requested to go to him on the camp a number of occasions, however he has all the time refused.
“I do not need my mother and father to see my camp, which is filled with sand and mud, or my sleeping quarters－a tent like a steaming field with a temperature of about 45 C throughout the day. My mom cares about me loads. She even cried a couple of small nick on my hand,” Lengthy mentioned.
The warmth means it is arduous to go to sleep at evening, so the officers must maintain a fan blowing and canopy their our bodies with moist towels.
“It isn’t a giant deal to me as a result of I perceive that if I expertise extra hardships at a younger age my future life will likely be simpler,” Lengthy mentioned.
His new-found toughness was illustrated when he injured his foot throughout a coaching run however insisted on ending the course.
“5-kilometer runs require each endurance and willpower. Each time I really feel I’ve used all my vitality on the finish of the run, I encourage myself by pondering of my mother and father and my new child brother. I work arduous for them,” he mentioned.
“In June, my 1-year-old sibling known as me ‘brother’ for the primary time. I felt so completely happy and knew I need to set a great instance for him. My father has supported the entire household, however now I need to shoulder a few of his burden.”
When he leaves the PAP, Lengthy plans to run a enterprise renting basketball courts to adults and likewise present a facility the place kids can be taught concerning the sport. He desires to run a grocery retailer, too.
“I by no means envy my mates from highschool who at the moment are working companies,” he mentioned.
“Whereas I’m nonetheless serving within the power, I’ll do my finest. I do know I can be taught loads right here,” he mentioned.
Members of the First Squadron of the Third Detachment of the Yunnan Folks’s Armed Police Power, aka ‘The Metal Knife Group’, march throughout a sq. earlier this 12 months. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
Deng Jun: a dream come true
When Deng Jun was a toddler, he dreamed of being a soldier. So, when he graduated from Guizhou College of Engineering Science final 12 months, he did not trouble searching for a civilian job.
As a substitute, he joined the Yunnan PAP. Nonetheless, he rapidly realized that life within the camp was a lot tougher than at college.
“Throughout my school years, I seldom slept earlier than 1 am and normally bought up at midday, watched motion pictures or simply performed with my telephone on the mattress in my dormitory. Once I went outdoors, my eyes can be dazzled by the sunshine and wanted to adapt,” Deng mentioned.
“In these days, I used to be comfy however lazy. The power has made me extra self-disciplined and completely modified my psychological state. Once I video chatted with my mother and father, they mentioned my eyes appeared brighter than earlier than.”
He’s the fourth of 5 kids, and his mother and father make a residing by working odd jobs.
“My mother and father are getting older and should not as robust as they have been. I’ve to work arduous within the power and repay them sooner or later,” he mentioned.
“I was so naive and knew nothing however enjoying round－if I hadn’t come to serve within the PAP, I is likely to be having a barbecue get together with mates proper now!”
When the squadron first assessed his health, Deng was bodily weak and felt a whole lot of peer stress, he mentioned.
It’s a custom within the squadron to swear an oath in entrance of honor pennants and certificates handed down many many years in the past.
“It was superb to see so many worn-out pennants. I noticed that none of us ought to maintain our honored workforce again,” he mentioned.
He recalled how he as soon as adopted a comrade into the tent the place the squadron’s honors are displayed.
“I noticed him standing nonetheless, staring on the pennants on the wall. He informed me he all the time sought non secular assist every time he was criticized by his superior for not doing a great job or simply for feeling exhausted,” Deng mentioned.
“Typically my squad chief identified my weaknesses and errors, which nobody had ever accomplished earlier than. I corrected them straightway, however I used to be simply harm and felt sad. Now I perceive that he was proper. I do not really feel sad about it anymore, although, as a result of I can meet the requirements even when nobody is pushing me.”
On campus, Deng watched motion pictures akin to Wolf Warriors that depicted troopers as particular person heroes. However as soon as enrolled, he found that the PAP will not be about particular person heroism, however about teamwork.
“For instance, comrades battle for honor as a workforce. We assist one another with the each day coaching, akin to correcting our working methods,” he mentioned.
“An important factor I’ve discovered within the power is to take heed to completely different opinions. Earlier than, I did no matter I wished and was self-centered. Now, I belong to a workforce. Everybody has a particular high quality, which suggests we all the time talk about issues and ask one another for recommendation to attain our targets.”