By Yan Yu
Recently, 15 members of the 12th Chinese peacekeeping engineering contingent to South Sudan received the Sector Commander’s Commendation conferred by the Sector West Commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Brigadier General Measho Hagos Seyum for their outstanding achievements and great contributions in recent peacekeeping work.
For a long time, China’s Blue Helmets have built a strong defense line to safeguard peace in regions beset by conflict, demonstrating China’s sense of responsibility as a major country.
Peace is an aspiration and lofty goal shared by all mankind. UN Peacekeeping, as instrument developed for peace and began in 1948, is aimed at helping countries torn by conflict to create conditions for lasting peace, and has become an important means of safeguarding world peace and security.
Over the past more than 70 years, UN peacekeepers have made selfless devotion and sacrifices in some of the toughest and most dangerous places in the world, while Blue Helmets have become a symbol of peace and hope in war-ravaged lands and Chinese Blue Helmets have grown into a key force in the UN peacekeeping operations (UNPKOs).
In April 1990, China’s armed forces dispatched five military observers to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) and embarked on a new voyage as a participant in the UNPKOs. On April 16, 1992, China dispatched its first formed military unit of Blue Helmets to Cambodia for UN peacekeeping mission.
Over the past 30 years or so, China’s armed forces have contributed a growing number of peacekeepers across an expanding range of deployments. From a few military observers at the outset of its involvement, China’s armed forces are now sending both formed units and military professionals. Chinese military peacekeepers serve on the UN missions in engineer, medical, transport, helicopter, force protection and infantry units, and as staff officers, military observers and seconded officers.
Batches of Chinese military peacekeepers have embarked on one mission after another with courage and fortitude, becoming steadfast guardians of world peace.
Since 1992, China has sent nearly 50,000 peacekeepers to 25 UNPKOs in more than 20 countries and regions, including Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, Sudan, Lebanon, Cyprus, South Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic.
China is the second largest contributor to both peacekeeping assessment and UN membership fees, and the largest troop-contributing country (TCC) among the permanent members of the UN Security Council.
There are many touching stories about how Chinese peacekeeping forces have brought with them peace, security and the light of hope and warmth to people in war-torn areas.
Since 2013, China has dispatched nine peacekeeping units to Mali, where they carried out duties including armed patrols and armed escorts and earned the reputation of “des troupes d’élite” of Sector East of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
Over the past 16 years since the deployment of Chinese peacekeeping troops in Lebanon, Chinese peacekeepers successfully completed tasks including engineering construction and maintenance, providing medical services and humanitarian assistance, as well as clearing mines and explosives, during which they created the record of zero casualties for such tasks.
The Chinese medical units in the DRC have run a twinning project in SOS Children’s Village Bukavu to offer help for 19 years. Touched by the love and care from the units, children in the village called the female members their Chinese mothers.
In UNMISS, Chinese military peacekeepers have provided agricultural techniques, farming tools and vegetable seeds to local people. They were invited by local middle schools to teach lessons on Chinese culture and language.
Chinese military peacekeepers are not only guardians of peace but also messengers of friendship.
Jean-Pierre Lacroix, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said China’s contribution to UNPKOs is “very important”.
Peace needs to be fought for and safeguarded. China is a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of international order. And China’s armed forces will always be a force of justice safeguarding world peace.
China’s Blue Helmets have constantly injected positive energy into world peace and will continue forging ahead courageously and unswervingly to safeguard peace with a strong sense of discipline and responsibility.