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Renovation of Dongxing Police Station in South Sudan

中国人民公安大学出版社  2022/3/31 9:34:32
浏览次数:2725  
by Zhang Minjiao
  
  
  

  Recently, the China 9th UNPOL Contingent in UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) celebrated the completion of a renovation project for the Dongxing Police Station. Located in Wau, capital of South Sudan’s Western Bahl el Ghazal state, the police station (formerly known as the Khor Khorongo Police Station) had been christened after former peacekeeper Sun Dongxing 13 years before, when the Chinese officer helped restore the institution with his personal savings during his service in the African country.

  "A Choice I Will Never Regret"
  Now Deputy Chief of a Patrol and Special Police brigade in Xuzhou, Jiangsu, Sun Dongxing was all modesty as he recalled his experience 13 years ago: “I have been given too much credit for what I did. I believe in the old Chinese saying that the only reward for a good deed should be the good deed itself.”
  Back in July 2008, Sun Dongxing was deployed to Wau, Headquarters of the Second Sector of the former UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), where he and his UN colleagues supported the capacity building of the host police force. From then on, the Chinese officer has developed a deep attachment to this northeast African country.
  Before funding the renovation of what was later known as his namesake, Sun Dongxing had already supported a renovation project. In his visit to the Lokoloko Police Station, Sun Dongxing noticed that the local officers spent hours working outdoors under a tree, while leaving the police station nearby vacant. He later found out that the roof of the building was badly deteriorated and leaking water, causing an unhealthy work environment for the officers. While the police had been pushing for a new roof for years, the renovation project had been shelved by the government due to budget difficulties. Having learned about the situation, Sun donated 500 dollars out of his mission subsistence allowance to have the roof renovated for the Sudanese colleagues. His charitable act was both highly commended by the Sector Commander and well received by his international colleagues.
  Following this initial endeavor, Sun found another project where he could effect a difference: the Wau Police Department where he himself and other UNPOL officers worked for the most part of their mission. The Chinese officer noted that, compared with the common workplace challenges such as high workloads and long commutes, his workplace itself posed a more serious problem. The offices were infested with bats, which contaminated the ceiling with mounds of reeking droppings, exposing everyone inside to health risks. As a result, the building was practically deserted, with the Sudanese officers hardly working there at all and the UN peacekeepers staying away from it as much as possible.
  Despite the direness of the situation, the Wau Police Department received little help from UN then, when financial constraints had prevented the latter institution to even help its host fund a minor project in the previous two years. Deeply concerned, Sun consulted the director of the police department about the possibility of paying for the cleanup himself. To his frustration, this project turned out to be more costly than he had expected: after years of bat infestation, the building needed thorough refurbishing with an estimated bill of over 5,000 dollars, covering roof and ceiling replacement, disinfecting, vacuuming, and repainting of walls, and so forth.
  The prohibitive cost gave Sun pause. However, his urge to help the local colleagues only grew stronger every time he visited the odorous offices of the Wau Police Department. The Chinese officer later explained, “to accomplish my mission as a peacekeeper I needed to collaborate with my local colleagues closely in building their capacity; I could never achieve this without establishing a good rapport with them, and there was no better way to build rapport than to address the real issues that affected my colleagues’ well-being.”
  Undaunted by the challenge, Sun began to raise funds for the 5,000-dollar renovation project: he cut back on his expenditure, borrowed from colleagues, and donated all the cash he had taken from home. Thanks to his unrelenting efforts, the renovation project was finally carried through. At the completion ceremony, Sun’s selfless endeavor was highly commended by law enforcement officials of the Western Bahr el Ghazal state, high-ranking officers from the state police headquarters and the county police department, and local celebrities. When the Sudanese learned Sun was a Chinese UNPOL officer, they expressed their sincere gratitude to the United Nations, the Chinese government and the Chinese people.
  In November 2008, another donation request was made to Sun Dongxing, this time by the state’s Police Commissioner and Director, for the 8,000-dollar renovation project of Khor Khorongo Police Station. Long out of repairs, the main building of the police station had been largely deserted and in dire need of renovation.
  To fund the new project, Sun donated all his daily mission subsistence allowance, borrowed from colleagues, and even took out some of his family’s savings while on home leave. Moreover, the Chinese officer had to wear many hats while off duty to keep the budget under control: to buy materials cheaper, he risked his life in the war-torn country by making numerous excursions tens of kilometers away from the mission area in the sizzling weather. He was ready to fill any role big or small, be it procurement manager, architect, contractor coordinator, construction worker, or engineering supervisor.
  Sun Dongxing’s selflessness and determination moved the local police. To express the deep appreciation for the Chinese officer’s help, the state’s Police Commissioner and Director decided to have the renovated police station named after him, thereby permanently commemorating the friendship between the Sudanese and the Chinese people. At the inauguration ceremony, Sudanese government officials, local community members, and Sun’s UN international colleagues lavished praises on the Chinese peacekeeper. As a result of Sun’s charitable acts, the local police’s trust in UNPOL officers was further enhanced, which in turn facilitated the smooth functioning of the UN.

  Charity Cause Furthered by Chinese Peacekeepers
  In April 2021, China sent the ninth contingent of police officers to South Sudan. Two officers visited the Dongxing Police Station as soon as they were assigned to Wau. To everyone’s dismay, the police station fell out of repair after 13 years, with its exterior walls cracking, interior walls peeling, and roof leaking. Once again the local police officers had to desert the building and work under a tree. Upon learning the situation, the officers in the ninth contingent unanimously agreed they would not allow the fruit of Officer Sun’s painstaking endeavors and the token of friendship between Chinese and South Sudanese people to go down to dust. They decided to fund the renovation of the police station collectively.
  According to Contingent Commander Liao Jie, the contingent reported to the police component of UNMISS in accordance with UN protocols about the origin of the Dongxing Police Station and the Chinese officers’ renovation plan. Deputy Police Commissioner for UNMISS highly commended Sun Dongxing’s charitable endeavors and supported the renovation plan; he also called upon the police departments of UNMISS as a whole and of Wau in particular to lend their support to the project.
  The contingent entrusted the implementation of the project to two officers on mission in Wau, Lu Xiaowei and Liu Ge. While off duty, the officers visited the Dongxing Police Station for site appraisals and inquired the local police about their needs and suggestions. They also collected costing information to formulate a specific renovation plan and identify potential contractors.
  Due to the remote location of the construction site and the industrial underdevelopment in the war-torn African country, the contingent met with tremendous difficulties in material procurement and contractor selection. Unable to either find a qualified contractor or formulate a cost-effective construction scheme, the officers had to temporarily suspend the project.
  This situation was later reported to the Chinese Embassy in South Sudan. Highly appreciative of Officer Sun Dongxing’s selfless endeavors and the contingent officers’ determination, the embassy officials introduced the officers to the Tianyuan Construction Group, which was then engaged in humanitarian engineering work in Wau. The leadership of the Tianyuan Group promptly responded to the contingent’s request by sending a team of skillful workers over to the construction site. As a result, a renovation scheme was finally formulated after the team thoroughly discussed the details with the local police.
  During the implementation phase, the contingent officers visited the construction site frequently for coordination, progress tracking, and quality control. With their hard work and the joint efforts of all the other parties, it only took the construction team more than ten days to renovate the interior and exterior structures of the building. Moreover, the Tianyuan Group also donated some much-needed pieces of furniture to the police station, thereby significantly improving the local police officers’ work environment and facilitating the law enforcement processes.
  The Chinese peacekeepers’ charitable work was well received. To the officers at the Dongxing Police Station, their workplace both marked the Chinese colleagues’ selfless contribution and became a source of pride. Deputy Police Commissioner of Western Bahr el Ghazal expressed his gratitude on behalf of the Wau Police Department, praising the Chinese peacekeepers for taking another concrete action to cement the long-standing bond between Chinese and South Soudanese people. Commander-in-chief of the police unit of Wau also expressed heartfelt gratitude and admiration for the Chinese counterparts. The Chinese Embassy in South Sudan commented that the renovation of the Dongxing Police Station marked a good first step towards the cooperation between Chinese and South Sudanese police; Looking forward, the Embassy expected to see more friendly exchanges and cooperation in extensive areas between the Chinese contingent and the South Sudanese colleagues under the aegis of the UN. Finally, UNMISS released a special report to promote the Chinese officers’ work, which inspired great respect from the other international contingents.
  Seeing the renovated Dongxing Police Station in video recordings and photographs, Sun Dongxing could not withhold his excitement, “I am both proud and humbled. What my colleagues did is once again a reminder of how little I did and how much I have been given credit for.”
  The renovation of the Dongxing Police Station is an epitome of how the Chinese officers carried forward the peacekeeping spirit. In the future, the contingent will coordinate with the Dongxing Police Station closely to assist in follow-up expansion projects and work environment upgrading. Moreover, the Chinese officers will visit the police station from time to time to share practices in community policing, case handling, protection of women and children, and so forth.
  After all, as former Chief of Staff of the police component commented, the renovation project is not only in the name of Officer Sun Dongxing, but also the United Nations.
  
   (Translated by Shao He and Zheng Guangliang,Shao He is a faculty member of the English Department of Capital Normal University. Zheng Guangliang is a student at Capital Normal University.)■

  
  


  



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