Across China: Cross-border commuters' tale of two cities

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-22 20:12:06|Editor: Li Xia
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NANNING, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Every morning, Beilun river bridge comes alive as thousands of Vietnamese commuters walk through the Dongxing border port to work in China.

Beilun river bridge, also known as the border bridge, links the city of Dongxing, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the northern Vietnamese city Mong Cai.

Dongxing enjoys geographical proximity with ASEAN countries. As an important border port, Dongxing provides a major trade link between China and Vietnam as well as other ASEAN countries.

On February 2017, a pilot project for cross-border labor cooperation was launched in Dongxing, allowing for a greater influx of Vietnamese to work in Guangxi.

Just one year after the pilot project was launched, 20-year-old Nguyen Thi Hoai found a job as a shop assistant at a Vietnamese specialty store in Dongxing.

"After my graduation from high school, I visited here and fell in love with this place, so I decided to work here while studying Chinese," Nguyen said, adding that a good command of Chinese can help her find a better-paid job.

To shorten her commute, the Vietnamese girl rented an apartment in Mong Cai, which is 500 km away from her home in northwest Vietnam's Yen Bai.

The improved clearance efficiency has provided convenience for these cross-border workers. "26 automated and four manual clearance channels were added last year, so it only takes six seconds to finish the custom clearance," said Wei An, a border officer with the exit-entry frontier inspection station in Dongxing.

Like Nguyen, Be Thanh Tam, working as an accountant in an import and export trading company in Dongxing, shuttles between China and Vietnam each day.

"Working in China, I can earn more than 3,000 yuan (423 U.S. dollars) each month, 1,000 yuan higher than my salary in Vietnam," Be said.

Currently, some 2,200 registered Vietnamese work in the city of Fangchenggang, which administrates Dongxing, according to official data.

In 2018, Dongxing Port saw over 12 million inbound and outbound tourists. In the first half of this year, the number recorded a record high of more than 6.08 million, an increase of nearly 100,000 from the same period a year earlier.

"As today's Dongxing has become a popular tourist destination, Vietnamese shop assistants are welcomed here," said Liang Zhouhua, the employer of Nguyen.

"I have adapted to the lifestyle of working in China and living in Vietnam," said Nguyen.