China sends female demining peacekeepers to Lebanon

On May 10, the 18th Chinese peacekeeping contingent to Lebanon was inaugurated in an engineering and chemical defense brigade of the 75th Group Army of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). During the ceremony, six female peacekeepers were particularly eye-catching, three of which will perform mine-sweeping operations during the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.

Zhang Cunning, demining supervisor from the 18th Chinese peacekeeping contingent to Lebanon, said: “This is the first time Chinese military has sent female demining operators to the international peacekeeping battlefield, which is in response to the UN’s appeal for more female participation in peacekeeping operations to achieve gender parity.”

It is reported that the 18th Chinese peacekeeping contingent to Lebanon, with a total of 410 personnel and comprised of a multi-functional engineer detachment, a construction engineer detachment and a medical detachment, will be transported in two echelons to Lebanon for the first time by the PLA Air Force transport aircraft in late May. In the following one-year mission period, they will be tasked with missions such as mine-sweeping, project construction, fence planting along the Blue Line, humanitarian assistance, and others.

Gao Chaoning, commanding officer of the 18th Chinese peacekeeping contingent to Lebanon, told reporters that they had carried out a closed intensive training over two months before the expedition, encompassed with relevant subjects including demining qualification certification, three-dimensional and plane construction, emergency defense, rules of engagement, war wound treatment, UN policies and regulations, Middle Eastern custom tradition and the foreign affairs etiquette.

According to statistics, since the first batch was sent in 2006, China’s peacekeepers to Lebanon have detected and cleared nearly 2 million square meters of suspected minefields and over 14,000 meters of patrol roads, discovered and cleared more than 11,000 pieces of landmines and explosives of various kinds, completed more than 12,000 project support tasks, repaired over 300 kilometers roads for local residents, and carried out 9 humanitarian rescue missions with a cumulative total of 76,700 people having received assistance.

The professionalism and enthusiasm of China’s peacekeeping forces to Lebanon in various fields have won high praise from the UN, the Lebanese government and the local people. Officials in charge of quality supervising said that “this is world-class construction technology!”