Peace at a price
Updated: 2011-02-18 10:38
By Liu Zhihua (China Daily European Weekly)
A chat with peacekeeper Lian Changgang (right) gives author Yu Yin
A book about China's contribution to the UN peacekeeping forces is a timely reminder of its increasingly influential role in world affairs
"I am Pick's direct superior and if Pick doesn't fulfill his duties I have the power to deal with and even sack him," says Lian Changgang, general supervisor of the United Nations' peacekeeping police in East Timor, in the book Fighting for Peace by Yu Yin.
The deputy commissioner general had barged into his office and ordered him not to upset his friend, Pick, whom Lian had scolded for disobeying orders.
"I'm very busy. Please leave," Lian says to the stunned official, before leaving the office.
The story encapsulates the complicated relationships Chinese peacekeepers deal with as they participate in the UN's missions around the world.
Yu's book, published by China Intercontinental Press, has been translated into English and French and examines the development of China's involvement in UN peacekeeping missions through individual Chinese officers' stories in East Timor, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Liberia and Haiti.
"Peacekeeping is not as romantic as it sounds. When a country needs other countries to help keep order in society, the disorder must be unimaginable," Yu says.
"Our peacekeepers are so brave and devoted. I felt I must write up their stories."
Yu became a journalist at Northeast Window magazine, in 1999, the same year the government decided for the first time to send police officers to participate in UN peacekeeping operations.
As a retired navy officer, Yu was fascinated by the news and keen to learn more.
When the first squad of 15 Chinese peacekeeping police officers returned to China two years later, Yu interviewed Lian Changgang, the former "No 2" official among UN's peacekeeping police in East Timor.
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