By Li Weixin, Shui Lin and Wei Longgang
The new apartment buildings stand in the barracks of a border defense regiment of the PLA Army in the Ali plateau in China’s Xizang autonomous region. (Photo by Danzeng Lunzhu)
One day in mid December, at the Ali Kunsha Airport in Xizang autonomous region , a car bound for an army border defense regiment pulled out slowly. Sitting in the car, military wife Wu Jieqiong was full of expectations.
"I only brought some clothes with me this time, is that okay?" Wu called her husband Liu Xiaodong by phone about her landing and reconfirmed the condition of the new apartment she was about to move in.
The new barracks of the regiment were put into use at the end of last year. To improve the living conditions of visiting family members of officers and soldiers, the regiment launched the indoor fitting-out project of apartment buildings with high standards.
"Come here to spent the Spring Festival. We have brand new apartments, brand new facilities with all household items." When Liu told his wife about the good news, Wu did not immediately say yes.
Six years ago, Wu traveled all the way from her hometown in inland China to the Ali area on the Qinghai-Xizang plateau to get married with Liu Xiaodong, who was serving in a frontier defense regiment of the PLA Army, making her mind to settle down there for a long time. However, on her way from the airport to the barracks, all she saw was bumpy and dusty roads and a few scattered houses, it was almost a wasteland. "This is quite different from the photo you sent me!" Wu questioned Liu after getting out of the car.
"There is only one bed and one cabinet in the apartment, with not even a kitchen," Wu recalled the first apartment she moved in six years ago. Back then, she was in tears when thinking of living there for a long time.
Although everything was different from what she had imagined, Wu still stayed in Ali. She said: "I have been prepared mentally to endure a lot of hardship from the moment I decided to marry a border defense soldier."
Wu left Ali because of pregnancy in March 2019. Now, everything in front of her exceeded her expectations after two years.
This time, through the car window, Wu saw the white snow mountains and the newly built asphalt road. "The change is quite big!"
"Wow, that's great!" The new apartment building immediately attracted Wu's attention when she entered the barracks. Stepping into the apartment, she saw sofa, TV and coffee table, etc., all brand new. In the kitchen she was welcomed by various cooking facilities including refrigerator, gas stove and microwave oven.
Wu said, "The new apartment is well-equipped and even oxygen-supply device is directly connected to the bedroom." In addition to improved accommodation conditions, shopping, healthcare and communication are much more convenient than before.
The No.1314 road marker on National Highway 219 was the first "scenic spot" Liu took his wife to visit when she came to Ali in October 2015. The Chinese pronunciation of the number 1314 sounds like the pronunciation of lifetime, the newly married couple took a group photo beside the road marker to mark their lifelong love. They revisited it with a lot of emotion this time. Wu said that she felt like "going home" this time and felt very warm at heart.
One of the well-furnished apartment suites for troops and their family members in an apartment building in the barracks of a border defense regiment of the PLA Army in the Ali plateau in China’s Xizang autonomous region (Photo by Danzeng Lunzhu)
The photo taken in October 2015 shows Wu Jieqiong and Liu Xiaodong sitting beside the No.1314 road marker on National Highway 219 in the Ali plateau in China’s Xizang autonomous region. (Photo by Wang Hanning)