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Caring for border guardians on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
update:March 04,2022
BEIJING - Zhoigar from Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region still remembers vividly the moment when she greeted Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing four years ago.
At the "two sessions" in 2018, Xi met Zhoigar, a newly-elected deputy to the 13th National People's Congress, and other deputies. Zhoigar was former head of Yumai Township in Tibet.
"When the deputy next to me told the general secretary that I was from Yumai, he asked if I was Zhoigar," she recalled. Zhoigar responded with "Tashi Delek," the Tibetan greeting for good luck and best wishes.
Less than half a year prior to their meeting, Xi had written a letter of reply to Zhoigar and her sister, encouraging them to continue guarding the territory. Zhoigar said the letter from Xi always reminded her of the days she spent patrolling the border with her father.
Located at the southern foot of the Himalayas, Yumai once had a population of three -- Zhoigar, her sister Yangzom and their father, who was the former township head. Taking her father's walking stick 34 years ago, Zhoigar followed in her father's footsteps and patrolled the border.
Her father instilled in her the attitude that "protecting the land beneath your feet is to protect your country," and so Zhoigar 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.
Zhoigar once showed a planning map of Yumai at the "two sessions." Now, the blueprint has become a reality -- the once three-person township is home to over 200 people and oversees two villages. 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 a primary school built for local children.
After graduation from university, Zhoigar's eldest daughter returned to Yumai to devote herself to rural vitalization; and her nephew became a local civil servant. More and more young people are returning home to pursue their career on the snowy Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
Zhoigar said she would make suggestions about subsidies for border people, road construction and tourism development at this year's "two sessions," which coincide with the Tibetan New Year holiday.
Showing photos and videos on her cellphone, Zhoigar said cheerfully: "I'll show the general secretary the new changes in Yumai if I see him again."

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