Text by Song Gang Photographs by Chen Jian
Along China’s seemingly-endless national border, countless frontier villages and towns can be found. The town of Yueqing, in Tumen City of Jilin Province’s Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, is one of them. Hidden deep in the Changbai Mountains, it faces North Korea just across the Tumen River. Among residents of the town is a group of people who not only safeguard the stability of the border, but also constantly help local citizens. The group is comprised of officers of the Yueqing Border Police Station under Jilin Provincial Public Security and Border Defense Corps. In June 2012, China Pictorial visited Yueqing Town to record the lives of those police officers in pictures.
It’s no exaggeration to claim that the officers remain busy all day long. This is because they deal with almost every imaginable situation in town. For instance, they tackle random tasks ranging from settling disputes about cattle eating a neighbor’s crops, reminding the elderly to renew their ID cards, assisting local farmers growing vegetables in solar greenhouses, to traffic issues.
In addition to serving as the town seat, Yueqing governs eight frontier villages and 32 naturally-formed rural communities, with a territory of 178 square kilometers including 2,290 households. Ninety-five percent of the town’s 5,000 residents have Korean heritage. The Yueqing Border Police Station is responsible for administrative services for the town’s population, as well as maintaining social security, guarding the border, fighting crime, regulating special sectors, and inspecting and supervising firefighting facilities and equipment.
The police station is staffed with a dozen officers, but none of them are native to the area. However, they have developed considerable passion for the land they call “second home.” Their sincere devotion is rewarded with high praise from locals.
Due to the fact that many youngsters leave town seeking job opportunities in big cities, the frontier town has been suffering from severe age imbalance. Police officers voluntarily take care of elderly “empty nesters.” On holidays, they often visit lonely seniors and bring not only mental comfort but also medicine for common ailments. They usually bring a medical kit and blood-pressure gauge to help monitor health and provide some medicine that seniors may need. To inspire more help for the needy, the police station participates in charity activities such as a local hospital’s “Sending Medicine to Villages” program.