Safeguarding 'Big Family'
April 24, 2017Comments(0) Post Your Comment E-mail Print Save

Soldiers, in general, believe they must sacrifice time with their families to dedicate themselves to their military service, and to help protect the home country, which represent their "big family." Yin Jiayan, head of the Hunban Frontier Inspection Post, in southwestern China's Yunnan Province, is no exception. Thanks to the support he receives from his family, he spares no effort in protecting his home country, or in helping improve soldiers' lives at the inspection post. 

If you ask Yin where his home is, he most likely will smile and then answer, "If you mean the 'home' where I spend most of my time, I should say my 'home' is the inspection post where I work. In fact, I don't have much time to live with my wife and child throughout the year."

Since he became a soldier 11 years ago, Yin has twice volunteered for China's peacekeeping force in Haiti. He also participated in 2011 in an earthquake relief in Yunnan. 

Yin has achieved great things at his post. He always works hard, and he always gives credit for his achievements to his family, in particular his parents and his wife, who encourage him to serve wholeheartedly in the army.

Long-distance Relationship 

In 2007, Yin met Wu Lifang, who he married four years later. Shortly after the couple began dating, Yin received orders to join the Chinese peacekeeping force in Haiti. The young soldier was separated from his girlfriend, with whom he suddenly had to communicate from across an ocean. 

During the first couple of years they were dating, Yin and Wu endured a long-distance relationship — due to Yin's military postings — twice. 

In 2009, before Yin left for Haiti, for the second time, Wu hugged him tightly at the airport. She said, "Take care of yourself. I will wait for you to come back safe and sound." Yin was grateful that Wu was so considerate, and that she understood him so well.

Yin was in Haiti in January 2010, when a magnitude-7.3 earthquake ravaged the country. Yin and five of his comrades were responsible for rescuing Chinese soldiers who went missing during the earthquake. They worked for 92 continuous hours until they found eight of the soldiers, all of whom had died in the earthquake. Yin and his comrades retrieved the soldiers' bodies and transferred them to the Chinese peacekeeping force's camp. 

To Yin's surprise, his father, Yin Liqing, later asked Yin Jiayong (Yin Jiayan's brother) to take a letter, with a donation of 5,000 yuan (US $746), to the Chinese army's command in Kunming (capital of Yunnan Province), where Yin Jiayan was stationed. "My father wrote in the letter," Yin Jiayan recalls, "it's a great honor for my family that my son has joined the army. We all feel proud of him, that he has joined the peacekeeping force in Haiti. 

"We are grateful for the care and support we have received from the army, and the Party (Communist Party of China). I have learned from the news reports that Haiti has been ravaged by a huge earthquake. I feel very sad that some of my son's comrades have sacrificed their lives in that country. I am an ordinary peasant. I haven't done much for our country. This time, I ask my eldest son to bring 5,000 yuan (US $746), including 4,000 yuan (US $597) I have earned by selling my pigs and 1,000 yuan (US $149) of the subsidy I have received from my son (Yin Jiayan)'s army. I hope this limited amount of money can be used to help either people in Haiti, who have suffered from the earthquake, or the families of those soldiers who have died in the earthquake. I also hope Jiayan works well in Haiti, and I want him to help rescue as many people as he can."

Many of Yin Jiayan's comrades were moved by his father's generosity. They believed that Yin Liqing had set a good example for his son — he had taught his son to do his best to help safeguard his country and its people.

Paying Respects 

In 2010, after Yin Jiayan returned from Haiti, he was assigned to the public security frontier detachment in Dehong, in western Yunnan Province. In March 2011, a magnitude-5.8 earthquake ravaged Yingjiang, a county in northwestern Dehong. Yin Jiayan immediately answered the call from his command, and he led several soldiers to Yingjiang to assist with disaster relief. He and his team helped more than 1,300 residents, including students and the injured, escape the quake-stricken area. The soldiers transported a combined 15 tons (15,000 kilograms) in relief aid, including more than 800 quilts and 700 tents. 

In July 2011, Yin Jiayan was assigned to the police dog training center in Jiangqiao. At that time, he and Wu were preparing for their wedding, which was scheduled for November. Yin Jiayan did not expect he would soon say farewell to one of his comrades. 

On August 22, 2011, Yao Yuanjun, a soldier who also worked at the police dog training center, fell into a river while he was chasing a drug dealer. As a result, Yao died, which left Yin Jiayan feeling sad. He began collecting stories about Yao. He contacted media and asked the journalists to report the stories about Yao, so that people would know more about his fellow comrade, who sacrificed his life while fighting drug trafficking. During the months when Yin Jiayan was busy contacting media, Wu made all of the preparations for the wedding. She knew that was the best way to help her fiancé concentrate on his work. The couple wanted to pay their respects to Yao. 

'Home' for Soldiers 

Yin Jiayan was reassigned in 2013, when he was appointed head of Yinjing Frontier Inspection Post, located on the China-Myanmar border. Wu was pregnant at that time. Yin Jiayan did not have much time to stay with and take care of his wife. He felt guilty, but he had to put his work first.

The Yinjing inspection post in December 2008 began cooperating with Yinjing Primary School, to help improve the school's facilities, so local children could receive a better education. After Yin Jiayan was assigned to the inspection post in Yinjing, he encouraged soldiers, who served along the border, to donate money to help children from poor families. The soldiers established a fund, which they used to pay impoverished students' education fees and/or daily expenses. Wu supported her husband. The couple donated 1,200 yuan (US $179) every year to help students at Yinjing Primary School. 

In September 2015, Yin Jiayan was transferred to Hunban Frontier Inspection Post. He has since served as head of the post. "Soldiers at our post have tight schedules almost every day. When they return to their dorms, after they finish their work, they are often extremely tired. I am the head of our post, so I am like their big brother, who should take good care of them," Yin Jiayan says. That, he adds, is the reason why he asked his commanders to improve the facilities at Hunban Frontier Inspection Post.

Thanks to Yin Jiayan's efforts, the soldiers at the inspection post are now able to take a rest and/or meet their family members in a restored reception room. They have a basketball court. They grow vegetables, breed fish and raise poultry and livestock on a farm near their post. Yin Jiayan recently used iron shelves, abandoned by area residents, to build a grape trellis in the courtyard of the soldiers' dorm. "When the grapevines grow vigorously along the trellis this year, we will enjoy a beautiful scene in the courtyard," Yin Jiayan says.

Since he became the head of the Hunban post, Yin Jiayan has done everything within his power to create a comfortable "home" for the soldiers. However, he has little time to spend with his own family. He returns home once every two weeks. If he misses his wife and daughter too much, he will communicate with them via video chat. "My wife told me, when my daughter was one year old, she once looked at a soldier, who was wearing his uniform, on the street, and my daughter called that soldier 'papa.' If you ask me whom I miss the most when I work at the inspection post, my answer must be my wife and child," Yin Jiayan says. 

He is always grateful for his family, especially his wife, who shoulders all of the responsibilities of looking after the family. "My wife is the greatest companion I have in my life," Yin Jiayan says. He adds he could not make great achievements at his post without the support of his family.

Family's Motto

"The happiness of my family not only means that me, my wife and daughter do not worry about (having enough) food, clothing, a warm shelter and opportunities for travel. It also means we enjoy close relationships with my fellow comrades, and we live in a safe country and a peaceful world. The happiness of my small family is closely related to the happiness of the 'big family,' our home country." 
— Yin Jiayan

(Executive Editor: YE SHAN, Women of China English Monthly January 2017 Issue)

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