Longtime dedication of Tibetan postman wins recognition from Party

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Publish Time: 2021-08-25 Author: From: China Daily Global

Editor’s note: As the Communist Party of China celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding this year, China Daily talks to CPC members whose service to the nation and the people reflects the Party’s spirit.

Chime Dorje, a highly dedicated and longtime Tibetan postman, not only finds joy in delivering goods to Tibetans along his remote route, but is also the first person in China to have a postal route named for him.

The Ministry of Transport affixed his name in 2018 to the postal route linking remote mountainous areas in southwest China’s Sichuan province. In addition, for the postman’s commitment to his mission as a messenger, the CPC Central Committee has recognized him as an outstanding Party member.

Chime Dorje-Dorje means Buddha’s warrior attendant in the Tibetan language-has driven his postal vehicle on the route for 32 years. Tibetans live in most of the areas along the road.

Among the items he delivers are Communist Party of China publications, confidential official documents, letters of admission from universities to high school graduates along the route and goods purchased online.

He also delivers delicately printed Buddhist scriptures from the Bakong Scripture Printing Press and Monastery, the world’s largest Tibetan traditional scripture printing press.

"I’m overwhelmed with joy every time I see people opening their parcels and packages," he said.

While driving the postal route, which is 604 kilometers long and designated for use by vehicles only, Chime Dorje has seen the enormous support that the government has provided to Tibetan communities.

The route, which links Kangding, the capital of the Garze Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province, and the town of Dege in the same prefecture, ranges in elevation from 2,500 meters to more than 5,000 meters above sea level. It is the only postal route going to Tibetan communities from other parts of China via Sichuan.

Chime Dorje, who was born in 1963 in a remote village in Dege, seldom saw vehicles when he was a boy. "But I did see mail coaches now and then. And I dreamed of becoming a mail car driver at that time," he recalled.

To get to Dege either from the west or the east, one has to cross many high passes on difficult roads. Dege, which is at the end of the Sichuan-Tibet Highway, plays an important role in postal service in Sichuan.

Dege built a high-rise post office building in 1988 and bought its first mail vehicle. The post office then published a notice seeking a driver.

Chime Dorje was recruited as the post office’s first driver, based on his personal integrity and the fact that he could drive.

Chime Dorje had a truck of his own and had a fairly good income before joining the Dege postal team. "I was so nervous the first time I was on the wheels on the dirt road," he said.

The areas along the route were isolated, and there was little mail for the postman to deliver in those early days.

Now all the villages in Garze have internet access, so local people sell their products, including traditional Tibetan medicine, matsutake mushrooms and walnuts, online. They also shop online.

As a result, Chime Dorje and his colleagues have more packages to deliver.

Postal vehicles that weighed 4 metric tons have been replaced with ones weighing 12 tons. Two heavily loaded mail vehicles run from Kangding to Dege every day.

"I was into mail coaches when I was a child. Since I work as a postman, I have had a sense of what postal service means for the local residents," said Chime Dorje, who at 58 is the oldest on the team; the youngest is 25.

Knowing the hard life of the workers staying at the stations at an average altitude of 3,500 meters, Chime Dorje always gives them fresh fruit and vegetables and new publications.

The postal drivers set off at 6 am, when, during the first month of the year, temperatures can be around minus thirty Celsius degrees. The postal vehicles have to run over mountains covered by snow year-round.

Chime Dorje recalled that he and his colleague Dongrub were once caught by an avalanche. They shoveled away the snow little by little, but it took two days and two nights for their vehicle to advance just one kilometer.

For Chime Dorje’s team and for some local families, June is an especially important month, because that is when China’s college entrance examinations are held. Admission letters from higher learning institutions are due later that month.

"We pay special attention to June, as we must deliver each and every one of the admission letters to the high school graduates who pass the college entrance exams," Chime Dorje said.

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