China’s farmer army defends forgotten frontier – Emma Graham-Harrison

From Reuters:

Raking a spread of drying chili peppers, Gao Hong looks like millions of other farmers scattered throughout China, but his thoughts are on more than how much the harvest will bring in.

“My first priority is to defend the country’s borders,” says Gao, 50, whose loyal parents named him Red (Hong) — the color of the Communist Party.

He belongs to a paramilitary organization called the Construction and Production Corps, formed in the 1950s by disbanded soldiers to bring restive areas of the country firmly under Beijing’s control.

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