Bei­jing peak piques in­ter­est in run-up to 2022 Olympics

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - China - By CHINA DAILY

A moun­tain watch­man has seen an in­flux of tourists into his re­mote pa­trol site since it was named as a com­pe­ti­tion venue for the up­com­ing Win­ter Olympics.

Xiao­haituo Moun­tain in Yan­qing county, about 90 kilo­me­ters north­west of down­town Bei­jing, will host alpine ski­ing events in the 2022 Win­ter Games. The area is known for its rich bio­di­ver­sity and scenery.

For the past seven years, Cui Gui­jun has been the only pa­trol­man on the moun­tain, tak­ing care of the for­est and help­ing to guard against po­ten­tial dan­gers such as fire. Cui, 60, used to be the Party sec­re­tary of Xi­dazhuangke vil­lage at the foot of the moun­tain, and felt he wanted to do some­thing mean­ing­ful in re­tire­ment.

“I felt un­easy af­ter re­tir­ing from the vil­lage com­mit­tee. I wanted to do some­thing good for the vil­lage and the moun­tain that has nur­tured the vil­lagers for gen­er­a­tions,” he said.

Since Xiao­haituo Moun­tain was named as a com­pe­ti­tion site for the Win­ter Olympics, more trav­el­ers have come to visit, he said.

“The for­est is much drier in the win­ter. Some trav­el­ers take short­cuts to scale the moun­tain. They some­times make fires and en­dan­ger the for­est. I have to keep a close eye on the for­est and elim­i­nate po­ten­tial dan­gers.”

Cui works alone in a small two-story watch­tower equipped with two beds, one table and a walkie-talkie. He gets up at 6:30 am ev­ery day and starts work.

“The first floor only has two win­dows, but the sec­ond floor has four, of­fer­ing a bet­ter view of the moun­tain. I sur­vey the moun­tain from there, and send re­ports to the vil­lage com­mit­tee from time to time,” he said.

“It takes 15 min­utes to walk to the tower from the foot of the moun­tain. I used to carry coal and wa­ter, which weighs 10 or 15 kilo­grams, up to the tower once ev­ery two or three days for years, which was hard work, es­pe­cially in win­ter. Things are bet­ter now.”

Over­look­ing Xi­dazhuangke, the watch­tower stands at an al­ti­tude of 1,200 me­ters above sea level on the south slope of Xiao­haituo Moun­tain. It did not have wa­ter or a heat­ing sys­tem when it was built in 2004.

Cui said his work­place is much bet­ter af­ter be­ing ren­o­vated in 2014, and it now boasts sev­eral high-def­i­ni­tion mon­i­tors and heat­ing units. Cui is pos­i­tive about his work and the com­ing Win­ter Olympics. “I feel proud of my job. Xiao­haituo is the fo­cus of the 2022 Win­ter Games, and I will wit­ness this great event.”

CHENG SI / CHINA DAILY

Cui Gui­jun looks over the for­est on Xiao­haituo Moun­tain.

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