Every city has its own characteristics, so does the Yongxing Island.
The island has "everything", but that only meets people's basic living needs and is far from "abundant" due to the limited natural conditions. The island is far from the mainland, so many living necessities have to be transported from the mainland, and a plate of fried tofu is as expensive as 120 yuan.
Yongxing School, the only school on the Yongxiang Island, fully demonstrates how "small" Sansha City is. Founded at the end of 2015, it is the school at the southernmost end of China. There are 27 students at the school. All of them are children of fishermen on the island. The school offers courses for kindergarten, grade 1 and 3.
Sailors march forward at route step on the Yongxing Island
Stationed troops carry out intensive training and use international laws to their advantage
According to a report by the PLA Daily, the ratio between military personnel and civilians on the Yongxing Island is 3:1. The PLA Navy is the biggest contributor to the islands and reefs construction there and also acts as the guardian of South China Sea.
Zhang Yao, a 24-year-old petty officer, has been living on the island since he was enlisted at the age of 17. When the journalist saw him, Zhang Yao was standing on duty in front of the boundary monument of the Xisha Islands. Speaking of the changes over the years, he said the road we just passed was a dirt path a few years ago, but now it is an almost 1-km-long and about 5-m-wide seaside road.
"The sailors on the island are very nice. They help us whenever we ask them for help." A 53-year-old fisherman from Hainan's Wenchang praised the local sailors to the journalist.
Beautiful Xisha Islands are lacking in freshwater, so a "rainwater squad", the only unit of the troops that is in the military formation, was created to be specifically responsible for collecting and purifying rainwater and transporting fresh water.
A rainwater collection and purification plant was completed in the Xisha Islands in 1999. In the past decade or so, sailors in the rainwater squad has collected and purified more than 1.2 million ton rainwater, which is equivalent to 66.67 million barrels of 18L that's commonly seen in the market. If this amount of water is transported by "Qiongsha-3" liner with the load capacity of 750 tons from Hainan, the liner has to sail back and forth for 1,600 times.
In addition to "rainwater squad", the "Leifeng squad" on the island is also widely known because whenever the residents come across difficulties, they turn to this squad for help.
The "Leifeng squad" will help residents solving problems like the repair of household appliances, vehicles and machinery, or fishing boats encountering danger on the sea, or residents needing help at times of typhoon.
While tourists are impressed by the blue sea and ocean, naval vessels and coconut trees on the Yongxing Island, only people who really live on it know what high temperature, high humidity, high salt content and lack of water mean. Liu Tang, commander of a maritime garrison command in the Xisha Islands, told the journalist that the troops carried out their regular trainings no matter how harsh the conditions were.
Exercises against air strike and landing, emergency rally and Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW) are all carried out as planned, according to Liu.
"The U.S. has made a series of moves in the South China Sea recently, which makes our sailors more proactive and enthusiastic in the training. If they carried out the trainings because of pressure in the past, now they do it voluntarily and make fewer complaints although the trainings are more intense and difficult than before," Liu said, and he believed that reflected the spirit of military service members.
China attaches great importance to protecting the local eco-environment while carrying out construction activities in the South China Sea islands and reefs. Before stepping on the island, the journalist was reminded to "be environmentally conscious and not destroy the eco-environment". However, some countries are making groundless accusations against it.
The spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry once replied that China's island and reef construction activities have been through many years of scientific assessment and rigorous demonstration, and they follow strict environmental standards and requirements to make sure that the eco-environment in the South China Sea will not be destroyed.
Wang Xianzhong, an engineer from the port operation division of the naval troops on the Yongxing Island, told the journalist that the troops paid close attention to animal and plant protection. In addition to coconut trees, they have planted hundreds of mu (one mu equals about 666.67 sq m) of Carrierea calycina, wild loquat, masson pine and other trees on the island.
The Generals Forest on the island came into being for the sake of beautifying the barracks, and it has more than 1,400 coconut trees today as every CPC and state leader and every general that has come to the Yongxing Island would plant one, Wang added.