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MCC workers brave terrorist threat in foreign aid projects

Updated: 2018-07-18

Before joining the Duddar Zinc-lead Mine project, Yang Yuanping was not quite aware of real hardships.

The project, constructed by the Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC), is located in a primitive desert in Pakistan. Yang, deputy manager of the project, receives his and his colleagues’ daily supplies and food such as vegetables from Karachi, a city about 300 kilometers away from the mine.

At times they only have their daily necessities -- slippers, cups and instruments of labor such as axes and trowels, just like the protagonist in Daniel Defoe's famous novel RobinsonCrusoe.


Yang Yuanping (L) and a colleague [Photo/sasac.gov.cn]

However, the biggestthing the Chinese workers worried about was not the shortage of supplies and tools but the terrorist attacks along the way to Karachi.

Every year the Chinese workers look forward eagerly to their annual leave. The frequent car bombings along the way could not scare them out of going back home; the tight schedule and high cost became the biggest hurdle.

In order to ease the pressure, Yang took the lead in giving up his holidays and sticking to his post on the turbulent land.

Influenced by his dedication, most workers did not go home for the holiday but devoted themselves to the project, finally turning it from loss to profit.

In July 2017 Yang learned that his father was already in the terminalstage of cancer several days before he was assigned to a foreign aid project in Afghanistan -- the construction of a teaching building and an auditorium at Kabul University.

He tried his best to find a balance between being a responsible employee and a filial son.

Yang expressed his profound regret for not staying longer with his father beside his deathbed.

Li Peilong, another MCC employee of the post-1985 generation, went to the Aynak copper mine in Afghanistan as soon as he was recruited by the enterprise after graduation.


Li Peilong (second from left) negotiates with representatives from Kabul University [Photo/sasac.gov.cn]

He tried almost every job at the construction site, such as stirring concrete, wheeling trolleys and laying cables to fit into the work. In the first six months in Afghanistan, Li lost about 10 kilograms.

In November 2017, the headquarters of the Kabul University project received an early-warning of terrorist attack from the Chinese embassy in Afghanistan. At that time, about 50 Chinese workers and 100 local employees were working on the project.

Li, then the deputy manager, calmed himself down and responded to the emergency. He reported it the MCC headquarters in China and took measures to protect the personnel and assets. In the end, they weathered the serious threat.

(Executive editor: Hao Wen)


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