By Zhao Wenhuan, Liu Pan and Ding Wendong
BEIJING, March 9 -- A group of Chinese female mine clearance operators were carrying out missions in minefields on the Lebanese-Israeli border, despite dangerous and complicated environment, contributing to the maintenance of regional peace and stability.
Jiang Anqi, a female demining operator assigned to the 19th Chinese peacekeeping multifunctional engineer contingent to Lebanon, still remembered a minesweeping task three months ago. When she conducted reconfirmation in an operation area that had been cleared, the mine detector suddenly warned. In the face of the crisis, she remained calm and successfully handled it. Afterwards, Jiang learned that a mine in the adjacent area had shifted to her operation area.
Yang Yanxue is another female demining operator in Lebanon. Yang once had acrophobia, but she managed to overcome it to complete missions. At one point, Yang was initially arranged to stay on the flat ground to clean up the vegetation in the passage when facing a slippery cliff of more than 500 meters after the rain, but she insisted on performing the mission with her comrades in arms under the cliff.
"I was once afraid of heights so much that standing a little bit higher would make my legs tremble. But if I want to complete the task, I had to rappel down the cliff," said Yang.
Currently, there are six female mine clearance operators assigned to the 19th Chinese peacekeeping multifunctional engineer contingent to Lebanon with an average age of less than 23, and they all learned minesweeping skills after joining the force.
Last year, the contingent was equipped with a new type of protective suit, much lighter and more conducive to minesweeping operations. However, the girls still keep physical training actively to better conduct minesweeping tasks with long time and high requirements. Nowadays, it is very easy for them to run 10 kilometers.
From September last year to March this year, female demining operators, together with their male counterparts, have cleared a total of 810 landmines and completed maintenance of more than 90 boundary markers along the "Blue Line".