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Civilians help patrol Yanbian borders

Peng Yining
Updated: Jan 15,2015 8:51 AM     China Daily

The Yanbian Korean autonomous prefecture in Northeast China’s Jilin province has established a military-civilian defense system for better border security, China Defense News reported on Jan 14, following a recent incident.

Yanbian, which shares more than 500 kilometers of border with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and 246 km with Russia, now has its police department working with border guards at checkpoints on critical roads to question passers-by.

Civilian patrols have been started in border villages and counties, and every 10 neighboring households have their own border security group. If one household reports anything suspicious, all 10 will respond and report back to the village head.

Last month, a runaway DPRK soldier reportedly killed four Chinese citizens during a robbery after he crossed the border into China in search of food, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Chinese police immediately arrested the man after the incident. The runaway was injured during the arrest and died despite treatment, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said last week, adding it was an individual criminal case.

Hong said both China and the DPRK have paid great attention to the case. China has already lodged representations with the DPRK, and departments in charge of the case in both countries are conducting a follow-up investigation to deal with the aftermath.

In Yanbian, a telephone hotline has been set up to encourage residents to report any illegal border activities they might notice, and emergency response teams have been founded within the civilian patrols and trained by military border guards, the report said.

The civilian patrols also have teams to respond to natural disasters, including wildfires, floods and earthquakes. In the case of any emergency, text messages are sent to every team member’s mobile phone.

The prefecture has set up round-the-clock video surveillance in the border area to improve its control of the frontier.

A secure border is essential to national security, China Defense News said.

With its long border, it is hard for Yanbian to monitor the frontier with only border guards and needs teamwork from the Communist Party, the government, military, police and residents. The report called such cooperation “five-in-one” and said the pattern has risen in response to the current conditions.