As the instruction “Salute the guarding post” was heard over Luohu Bridge, soldiers raised their arms to salute the guarding post west of the head of the bridge, tears filling their eyes.
They were members of the ninth company under the third detachment of the Guangdong Contingent of the People’s Armed Police Force. For the last time before retirement, on Aug. 28 they were saluting the post where they had served for years.
Straddling the Shenzhen River, the 32-meter-long, 12-meter-wide Luohu Bridge finished in 1911 was, for quite a long time, synonymous with the city of Shenzhen. Connecting Shenzhen on one side and Hong Kong on the other, the steel railway bridge has been an important witness of China’s modern history: In old China, invaders transported plundered mineral and other resources out of the Chinese mainland from here; after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, it was through here that many scientists including Qian Xuesen returned to their motherland to contribute to the country’s development, that many new products such as Pepsi were imported to the mainland market, and that supplies were transported to Hong Kong in times of need.
The significance of the bridge means that guard duty here is by no means an easy task. Saboteurs with grenades or bombs with them, smugglers, stowaways … The major duty of the soldiers on guard is to try to identify such people in the crowd and subdue them to prevent them from doing harm. Resisting temptation is also an important part of their duty, as attempts to bribe them with cash or even gold have never been uncommon.
Tough and dangerous as the task is, they all see the opportunity to stand guard on Luohu Bridge as an honor. According to Liao Jian, political instructor of the ninth company, the key that explains why no soldiers on guard here have ever betrayed their duty over the past 72 years is their absolute loyalty to the Communist Party of China and the ideal to safeguard the country and its people.
“Thank you for the contributions you have made in safeguarding Luohu Bridge!” Following Liao’s instructions, the soldiers took photos with the bridge, the flag-raising platform and the guarding post. Then they changed their uniforms and picked up their guns for a tactical training for the last time.
Members of the ninth company under the third detachment of the Guangdong Contingent of the People’s Armed Police Force pose for a photo Aug. 28. Photos by Sun Yuchen
Soldiers salute the guarding post west of the head of Luohu Bridge on Aug. 28.
Soldiers pose for a photo near their guarding post west of the head of Luohu Bridge on Aug. 28.
Soldiers are in a tactical training Aug. 28.
A soldier is raising China’s national flag while another soldier is saluting the flag Aug. 28.
Soldiers pose for a photo Aug. 28.
Soldiers are in a tactical training by the Shenzhen River on Aug. 28.
A soldier is in a tactical training Aug. 28.
Retiring soldiers shed tears and bid farewell to their companions Sept. 1.