A report in the Global Times (August 11) mentioned that border regions including Shannan Prefecture are stepping up efforts in relocating people to the border to boost both national security and quality of life. Budo, Deputy Party Secretary and Chief of the County told Global Times that  Cona plans to relocate 3,222 people of 960 families to the "weakly controlled areas on the borders" on a voluntary basis. He added that the distances between the relocation destinations and LAC will be shorter than 2 kilometres in a straight line and 5 kilometres on the ground.  He said, "The India-controlled areas are just a mountain away." Cona, an important border county in Shannan, covers a total area of 34,979 square kilometres, of which 10,094 square kilometres are in the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The lengths of Cona's borders with India and Bhutan are respectively 213 kilometres and 55 kilometres. The relocation project is also for dealing with the problem of a weakening border force in Cona's Lebugou region caused by the outflow of residents throughout the past decade. To date, Lebugou has moved 134 people from 40 households in three other villages with harsh natural conditions to Mama Menba township. Also located in Shannan, is Yumai village in Lhunze county is China's least populous administrative village with only 32 people of nine families there in 2017. At present, there have been 191 people from 56 households settling in this village since the relocation project started there in 2017. Including Lhunze and Cona, the four border counties in Shannan Prefecture are all actively promoting the relocation project which involves some 6,000 residents in total. The prefecture is also planning to relocate people from non-border counties to its border ones. The Global Times observed that people living on the border, regardless of ethnicity, have shown a strong sense of responsibility to defend the border. In Le village, people between 18 and 65 years old patrol the border once or twice a month, covering more than 100 kilometres and spending three or four days each time. Gongzhangpu in Luoza county is located on the border between China and Bhutan. Previously, Gongzhangpu was just a pasture. Since March 2017, 20 people from 10 families have voluntarily moved to the border. Gongzhangpu is 4,674 meters above sea level. The climate is very harsh and winter is the only season. The residents have to overcome the cold and lack of oxygen to patrol the area. A Shannan government official, describing the patriotic sentiments of border residents, said they always patrol around and write "China" with brushes and red paint on some mountain walls and stones. Some people also use stones to make five stars or sickles and axes of the Party emblem and paint all the stones red. Tsering Danzeng, 88, a native of Lebugou, has been patrolling the border with PLA soldiers since he was 17. He served as a guide for the army during the 1962 China- India border conflict. As for the reasons for his decades-long border defense, Tsering recalled: "At that time, I had to serve as a servant for an aristocrat, carrying 35 to 40 kilograms of goods on my back for long on the mountain road."  After the peaceful liberation of Tibet, the PLA soldiers told him, "this land is your home," which Tsering said motivated him ever since. He said, "Now I am too old to defend, but this faith has not gone away." 

(Comment: The report shows that the model border defence village is progressing rapidly. Publication of this article will also be part of the campaign to promote patriotism.) 

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