First echelon of China’s 19th batch of peacekeeping forces to Lebanon board a plane, July 28.（Photo by Zhang Zhengju/People’s Daily Online）
By He Yin
China on Friday released a white paper on the participation of the country’s armed forces in the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations.
The white paper, titled “China’s Armed Forces: 30 Years of UN Peacekeeping Operations,” was released by the State Council Information Office.
It reviews the glorious journey of China’s armed forces in the UN peacekeeping operations (UNPKOs) over the past 30 years, as well as the country’s firm practice and important contribution. It also demonstrates the comprehensive implementation of the pledges announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping during the UN Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping, introduces the peaceful philosophy and practices of China’s armed forces in the new era, and profoundly explains that the Chinese armed forces are embarking on missions for world peace. It said China’s armed forces are a disciplined force for peace and justice that contributes to building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Xi once pointed out that “Peace is the common aspiration and lofty goal shared by all mankind. It was for the purpose of securing peace that the UN peacekeeping operations came into being. Now as an important means of upholding world peace and security, these peacekeeping operations bring confidence to areas beset by conflict and hope to the local people who are its victims.”
The UNPKOs, starting from 1948, aim at creating conditions of lasing peace for countries suffering conflicts. Over the past 70 some years, the UN peacekeepers have made contributions and sacrificed their lives in the world’s most arduous and dangerous places, making the blue helmets a signal of peace and hope for war-torn regions.
Practices show that the UNPKOs have played important and irreplaceable roles in avoiding new world wars, containing the escalation of regional conflicts, alleviating humanitarian disasters, and promoting world peace and development.
A Chinese peacekeeper once recorded in his diary that “If you ask me why we go that far for peacekeeping missions in extreme danger, I’d say that we must safeguard the bottom line of human civilization”.
China’s Blue Helmets have become a key force in UN peacekeeping. In April 1990, China’s armed forces dispatched five military observers to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) and embarked on a new voyage as a participant in the UNPKOs. From a few military observers at the outset of its involvement, China’s armed forces are now sending both formed units and military professionals. Chinese military peacekeepers serve on the UN missions in engineer, medical, transport, helicopter, force protection and infantry units, and as staff officers, military observers and seconded officers. Chinese military peacekeepers have left their footprints in over 20 countries and regions including Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, Sudan, Lebanon, Cyprus, South Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic.
Over the past 3 decades, batches of Chinese peacekeepers have engaged in the UNPKOs with courage and determination. China’s armed forces have contributed more than 40,000 service members to 25 UN peacekeeping missions. Sixteen Chinese military peacekeepers have sacrificed their lives for the noble cause of peace. As of August 2020, 2,521 Chinese military peacekeepers were serving on eight UN peacekeeping missions and at UNHQ. China is the second largest contributor to both peacekeeping assessment and UN membership fees, and the largest troop-contributing country (TCC) among the permanent members of the UN Security Council.
“China has played a very critical and a very important role in UN peacekeeping operations,” said Atul Khare, UN under-secretary-general for operational support, adding that the UNPKOs couldn’t have achieved today’s progress without the support from China.
China’s armed forces participate in the UNPKOs, because the pursuit of peace is in the genes of the Chinese nation. China’s armed forces participate in the UNPKOs, because the Chinese people care about the wellbeing of humanity. China has always aspired to fulfill its missions of meeting the responsibilities of a major country, safeguarding world peace, and contributing to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
Chinese blue helmets have won wide applause from the international society for its ceasefire supervision, stabilizing situation, protecting civilians, providing force protection, deploying enabling capabilities and sowing the seeds of hope.
A Kenyan military officer said Chinese troops not only brought safety, but also warmth. A Lebanese official also noted that there weren’t many willing to offer sincere help like the Chinese peacekeepers. He said the Chinese help was all-round and with no strings attached, hailing Chinese troops as messengers for peace. A UN official said he saw the greatest qualities of the Chinese nation from the Chinese peacekeepers – kindness and wisdom. He also thanked China for making the world better.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. It is also the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN. Reviewing the remarkable journey of China’s blue helmets at this special moment will further highlight China’s role as a constructor of world peace, a contributor to global development, and protector of international order. Chinese troops are always a force of justice for world peace and development. Peace comes from struggling and needs maintenance. China is willing to work with all peace-loving countries to light every corner of the world with justice.
Chinese serviceman from the 6th Chinese peacekeeping infantry battalion to South Sudan (Juba) introduces COVID-19 protection information to local residents, March 7. （Photo by Li Xin and Jia Fangwen/People’s Daily Online
Chinese peacekeeping infantry battalion joins a drill conducted by the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan and United Nations Police for better peacekeeping amid COVID-19, April 24. （Photo by Jia Fangwen/People’s Daily Online）