The Xinjiang-Tibet Highway is a remarkable feat of engineering that traverses the majestic Karakoram mountain range and glaciers, earning it the nickname “sky road.” The highway is a popular route for travelers seeking breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, but it also serves an important purpose for the local communities.
For families living in remote areas of Yecheng county in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the highway is a vital link to education. Whenever the beginning or end of a school semester approaches, the local police organize a fleet of vehicles to transport children to and from school.
The journey along the highway can be treacherous, particularly during the winter months when the road is covered in snow and ice. However, the police escort ensures the safety of the children, providing them with a secure passage to school.
The task of escorting over 4,500 students on the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway is a massive undertaking, and it is carried out four times a year. Over a period of 15 years, the project has become an integral part of the educational system in this region of China. The project is a result of the efforts of the public security bureau of Yecheng county in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The police organize a fleet of vehicles that picks up children who live far away from the local school. The project covers a distance of over 250 kilometers each time it is carried out.
The Xinjiang-Tibet Highway, which traverses the snow-covered Karakoram mountain range and glaciers, is known as the “sky road” for its high altitude and stunning views. It is one of the most challenging roads in the world, and traversing it can be dangerous. Despite these challenges, the police escort has managed to ensure the safe transport of students. The highway is a vital link between Xinjiang and Tibet, and it plays a critical role in connecting remote communities in the region.
The Xihexiu township, located farthest from Yecheng county, is connected to the county through a 127-kilometer road, which is one of the most precipitous sections of the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway. This road passes through a 3,500-meter-high ridge and has over 60 turns. The terrain is rugged, and the weather conditions are often harsh. It is not uncommon for the road to be covered with snow or ice, making it treacherous to drive. The police escort has to be extra cautious during these times, and they take every precaution to ensure the safety of the students.
The initiative to escort the children of Xihexiu township on the perilous journey to school began in 2008, when the public security bureau of Yecheng county formed a “guardian group” consisting of police officers. The transportation and education authorities of the region were also involved in the project, arranging the vehicles and drivers required for the task. The group was established to ensure the safety of the children who live far away from school and must travel along the treacherous Xinjiang-Tibet Highway.
Every semester, the guardian group carries out the mission four times, covering a distance of over 250 kilometers each time and escorting more than 4,500 students over a period of 15 years. The students who are escorted by the group are those who live in Xihexiu township, the most remote location from Yecheng county. They connect to the county through a 127-kilometer road, which passes through a 3,500-meter-high ridge and over 60 turns, making it one of the most dangerous sections of the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway.
He Haidong, the deputy head of Yecheng’s traffic police team, along with his colleague, inspected eight buses for the transport mission at 8 a.m. on February 16. The officers meticulously examined each bus, ensuring there were no technical glitches that could jeopardize the safety of the children. The buses used for the transport mission are specially designed to navigate the rugged terrain, with features such as powerful engines, reinforced chassis, and snow chains.
The guardian group comprises of more than 100 police officers, including traffic police, patrol police, and plainclothes police. They are stationed along the road, monitoring the traffic and ensuring the safety of the students. In addition, medical teams and ambulances are stationed at strategic points to provide immediate medical assistance if required. The police officers and medical teams work in unison to create a safe passage for the students, ensuring that they reach their destination without any untoward incidents.
The guardian group’s mission is a testament to the region’s commitment to the welfare of its children. It highlights the challenges faced by the children who live in remote locations and have limited access to education. Through this project, the authorities have ensured that the children can attend school regularly without compromising their safety. The guardian group’s efforts have earned the respect and admiration of the local community, and they are rightly hailed as heroes who have made a significant contribution to the region’s development.
He Haidong, the deputy head of Yecheng’s traffic police team, has been escorting students to school for eight consecutive years. He says that this semester started on February 13th, but the schedule for picking up the students was postponed due to heavy snowfall. He explains that the local police always inspect the road a week in advance to prevent any possible dangers, and experienced drivers who are familiar with the mountainous terrain are selected for the job.
After the road was deemed safe, the fleet of vehicles arrived at Xihexiu township after a nearly four-hour journey. More than 200 children were eagerly waiting for them, and the sight of the police escort made them excited. The children gathered around the buses as the police officers ensured that everything was in order.
As the buses set off, the children were excitedly chatting and looking out of the windows, admiring the beautiful snow-covered mountains and icy glaciers. The police officers on duty were also in high spirits, knowing that they had accomplished their mission to ensure the safe transportation of the children.
The journey from Xihexiu township to the school is approximately 127 kilometers, and it takes around four hours to cover the distance. However, with the police escort, the children felt safe and secure, and the journey seemed to fly by. After reaching the school, the children disembarked, waving goodbye to the police officers who had escorted them. The escort’s mission was accomplished for the day, and the officers returned to their duties, content with having ensured the safe transportation of over 200 children.
Despite the challenges, the police and the families of these children are committed to ensuring that they receive an education. The police escort is a testament to their dedication and underscores the importance of education in these remote regions of China.
He Haidong, the deputy head of Yecheng’s traffic police team, was responsible for leading the police escort to ensure the safety of more than 4,500 students. During the return trip, He constantly sent warnings through an intercom about the complicated road conditions. The children, however, were more excited than worried as they looked forward to meeting their classmates and teachers after a long separation.
Despite the treacherous journey, the guardians arrived at the gate of the school at 6 p.m. to be greeted by the principal, teachers, and other students who had been waiting. The children bid farewell to their guardians, who were proud to have completed their duty of bringing the students safely to school.
The students’ enthusiasm was evident as they eagerly awaited the arrival of summer break when they could reunite with their guardians once again. The successful completion of this mission was a testament to the close collaboration between the public security bureau, transportation and education authorities, and the guardians themselves.
The guardians’ commitment and dedication to their role had ensured that the students arrived at school safely and on time. The police’s proactive measures, such as inspecting the road a week in advance, also ensured that potential dangers were identified and addressed, thereby minimizing risks to the children’s safety.
The project’s success is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the police from the public security bureau of Yecheng county. They have worked tirelessly to ensure that every student has access to education, regardless of where they live. The project has also had a positive impact on the local economy, as it has created jobs and helped to stimulate growth in the region. The police escort has become an integral part of the community, and it is a source of pride for everyone involved.
In conclusion, the police escort of over 4,500 students on the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway is a remarkable achievement. The project is a testament to the resilience and determination of the people of Yecheng county, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that every child has access to education. The project has also had a positive impact on the local economy, and it has become an integral part of the community. Despite the challenges posed by the terrain and weather conditions, the police escort has managed to ensure the safe transport of students. The project is a shining example of how hard work and dedication can overcome even the most challenging obstacles.