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Xizang's postal workers relish improved route conditions

Updated: 2021-09-06 08:17 ( China Daily )
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LHASA-Imagine delivering parcels in China's highest township. You would need to contend with strong winds, biting cold and low oxygen levels. Now imagine doing that for 16 years without making a single mistake.

Not many could master this feat, but 35-year-old Tsering Chuba has done so.

As the first postman in Puma Changthang township of Lhokha city, Southwest China's Xizang autonomous region, he has so far delivered 1.57 million newspapers, 43,000 letters and 38,000 parcels to six villages and one border police station.

Covering an area of 1,200 square kilometers, Puma Changthang is home to more than 1,000 people, with an altitude of 5,373 meters. With the government's call to provide postal services for each township, Tsering Chuba was employed by a local branch of State-owned China Post in 2005.

"Herders had never seen a postman in a green uniform when I started my job. They had never received any letters or sent anything to the outside world," he says.

Back then Puma Changthang was not accessible by road. Tsering Chuba, who traveled by bicycle, served as an important link to the remote corner of the world.

For him, delivering letters and parcels in China's highest township is no easy job. His route boasts some of the most hostile conditions on Earth, with the amount of oxygen in the air less than 40 percent of that at sea level. The annual average temperature is-7 C.

A single trip on the postal route is about 160 km. Tsering Chuba has covered 600,000 km in total over the past 16 years, crossing a vast landscape of ice, snow, mountains and rivers.

The most difficult part of his journey is a mountain with an altitude of approximately 6,000 meters. "Every step forward was exhausting. My heart pounded violently and I felt out of breath," he says, recalling his earliest experiences.

Due to years of work at a high altitude, Tsering Chuba suffers from arthritis and hypertension.

"As long as it is good for the villagers, I will stick to my endeavor," says Tsering Chuba, a member of the Communist Party of China.

Tucked away in the mountains, Tsawarong township of Nyingchi city was dubbed an "isolated island "on the plateau region. Postman Nyilam Tenbor has witnessed the changes in the local postal service.

"In the past, there was no road linking villages with the township seat. Letters and parcels were delivered by government-hired locals on an irregular basis, or fetched by the villagers themselves," he says.

With the improvement of traffic conditions, he can deliver mail once every two days to six villages by motorbike.

Thanks to countless rural postal workers like Tsering Chuba and Nyilam Tenbor, Xizang has substantially improved its local postal services. The postal network now covers all villages within the region. A courier service station has even been opened at the foot of Mount Qomolangma, referred to as Mount Everest in the West.

According to the Xizang branch of China Post, the company has established more than 600 township service outlets in the region. More than 1,300 postal routes have been launched in rural areas.

The postal services are among a raft of improved public services Xizang has witnessed in recent years. In old Xizang, there were no proper schools and the illiteracy rate exceeded 95 percent. Now, students in Xizang enjoy 15 years of free education from kindergarten to senior high school.

Before the peaceful liberation of Xizang in 1951, there were only three small government-run institutions of Tibetan medicine and a few private clinics in Xizang. Now, the region has a full medical services system covering regular medical services, maternity and child care, disease prevention and control, and Tibetan medicine and therapies, with 1,642 medical and health institutions.

The region's public cultural services system has also seen constant improvement. Now, libraries, galleries, museums and centers for cultural activities have become important sites that enrich people's cultural lives.

In 2014, Puma Changthang became accessible by asphalt road. Tsering Chuba upgraded his vehicle from a bicycle to a motorcycle. Two years later, he began delivering parcels using a van.

As locals became accustomed to using the internet on the plateau, the scope of his work extended far beyond parcel delivery. He now also teaches villagers to shop online, video chat with their relatives and sell local specialties to other places.

"What I have done is not a big deal. But these small things make me feel really happy and worthy," Tsering Chuba says. "I will keep going to help more villagers, and become the dream chaser in the new era."

Xinhua

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