BEIJING, July 28 (Xinhua) -- For the past 27 years, China has devoted itself to peacekeeping missions by dispatching troops to maintain peace, participate in infrastructure construction, and provide medical services in conflict-torn countries in accordance with related UN mechanisms.
The contribution of China's "blue helmets" has earned applause and respect from the international community.
It was not until April 1990 that the Chinese army first made its name appear in the briefings of the UN peacekeeping missions, which stated that five military observers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) had arrived in Damascus.
Up to now, the Chinese army has been lauded as a "critical factor and key force of peacekeeping operations," having dispatched a total of 35,000 person-times of peacekeeping and military personnel to take part in 24 UN peacekeeping missions.
At the sparsely populated Lebanon-Israel border, the eye-catching signs of skulls and dreadful thick wire-nettings constantly send out a serious warning to people about the heavily mined "Death Zone."
The 16th batch of Chinese peacekeeping forces recently made a reparative investigation of 163 boundary pillars along the 121-km-long "blue line" which serves as the border of the two countries, amid a dangerous minefield, a complex geographical environment, a hot climate, thistles and thorns, as well as vipers and insects.
The first-level hospital of the 16th Chinese peacekeeping force provides free services to Lebanese people, as well as Palestinian and Syrian refugees, offering medical treatment to everyone who was checked at the sentry.
Chinese soldiers went back and forth between their camps and the "blue line," passing more than 10 villages along the way every day. Wherever they went, the soldiers were welcomed with thumbs-ups and praises such as "China good" or "China friend."
Since 2006, while completing the peacekeeping missions in Lebanon, Chinese peacekeepers have been dedicated to displaying Chinese power, building Chinese platforms, shaping Chinese image and conveying Chinese spirit, winning high praises from the United Nations and other countries and having been regarded as "the most friendly people in UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon)."
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is highly appreciative of Chinese peacekeepers' long-term contribution to peace and stability in her country.
"Chinese peacekeepers come to Liberia not just to protect us but also to offer aid to our national army to defend ourselves in a more efficient way. We thank you for all that you have done to us," she said while addressing a ceremony in the capital of Monrovia on July 22.
Sirleaf also extended her sincere gratitude towards the Chinese government for its constant and generous help.
"We thank the Chinese government for giving out support and help to us in every walk. When we encountered difficulties with no other countries by our side, China was the first to give a hand. It turns out that China is a true friend to us. Thank you, China! I am looking forward to continuing cooperation between our two counties and stepping up our lasting friendship," she said.
On March 10, a total of 140 Chinese peacekeeping police officers departed from Beijing for a year-long mission to Liberia, which was China's fifth team of peacekeeping police to the African nation.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix has also spoken highly of China's dedication to world peace.
"As the second largest financial contributor, China's contribution to peacekeeping is extremely important," Lacroix told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"I was deeply impressed by the quality of the Chinese contingent, qualified people and quality equipment -- this is very important," he noted.
The UN does not have its own military force; it depends on contributions from member states. As of March 31, 2014, 122 countries contributed military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping operations, according to UN statistics.
UN official statistics show that China currently contributes 2,512 people to UN peacekeeping missions, including 155 police, 34 military experts and 2,323 troops. On average, China contributes more troops to UN peacekeeping missions than any other permanent member of the UN Security Council.
"We look forward that China will bring those contributions to a level of readiness that will enable us, if needed, to rapidly deploy Chinese units wherever they are needed," said Lacroix.
"This is a very much appreciated effort," he said.
A consensus has been reached among UN top management echelon that peacekeeping operations have evolved from simply monitoring cease-fires to protecting civilians, disarming ex-combatants, protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, supporting free and fair elections, minimizing the risk of landmines and much more.