Knowing All about Hunan

Overseas Chinese workers demonstrate commitment, tenacity in tackling challenges

Updated:2022-05-07 10:14:24

Working in Lebanon has presented some challenges for 36-year-old Chinese Guo Jia, who has been working in the Lebanese capital city of Beirut for the past two years as chief engineer, supervising the construction of the China-funded Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music.

The living expenses of Chinese workers have soared as a result of Lebanon's economic crisis and rising inflation, so has the project's cost. Due to the persisting COVID-19 pandemic, it has become more difficult to deliver Chinese supplies on schedule and transport Chinese workers to Beirut.

Guo and his team have shown incredible tenacity in the face of unexpected hurdles. When their crisis-hit Lebanese partners were unable to provide power and water as stated in a construction deal, Guo and his team purchased generators and water tanks, and they added more shifts for the Chinese workers to ensure the project be completed on time.

The conservatory, located in the town of Dbayeh, near Beirut, is a project under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, which was proposed by China in 2013 and aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe, Africa and beyond. The construction of the project began in December 2020 and will take three years to finish.

"Being the only China-funded large infrastructure project under construction in Lebanon, the conservatory will become China's window project. We must do what we can to meet both countries' expectations," Guo said.

Ahead of this year's International Labor Day on May 1, many Chinese like Guo have remained at their overseas posts in the Middle East out of a sense of duty and dedication, assisting local governments in building infrastructure using Chinese designs, technologies, and standards.

Chinese workers at the Israeli branch of the Power Construction Corporation of China (PCCC), which is now building Tel Aviv's light rail Green Line in Israel, have opted to work longer hours or cancelled plans to go back to China, although they are entitled to time off on International Labor Day.

The company has a tight schedule to complete the 39-km project, which also comprises a 700-meter-long and 13-meter-wide bridge above the Yarkon River, and a station spanning about 2,400 square meters, before its deadline in 2024, according to Li Feng, project manager of the PCCC's Israeli branch.

According to Li, the Chinese workers must maintain high quality and efficiency standards, import Chinese equipment that has never been used in Israel before, and take steps to reduce the projects' environmental impact, all of which has made the construction work more challenging.

Knowing the significance of the project, which is expected to carry 77 million passengers annually once completed, Li is determined to completing it in a timely and efficient manner.

"If we finish the project on time and efficiently, we will not only demonstrate our commitment to our Israeli contractor, but also increase Israelis' trust in Chinese technology and equipment," he said.

"As a member of the Chinese constructors, it's an honor to see how the Chinese projects and skills benefit local people in other countries," said Mi Jingchao, a Chinese project designer at PCCC's Israeli branch who wants to promote a positive image of China's "post-90s" youth (those born after 1990) through his hard work.

"I am prepared to face adversity, challenge myself in overseas projects, and hope to exchange Chinese engineering expertise with foreign builders," he said.

As the Tel Aviv project progresses, Chen Yong, the executive director who spent 12 years in Africa before joining the PCCC's Israeli office, said he had instilled a sense of pride in his team after their hard work paid off.

"When I'm old, I'll tell my children and grandchildren that when we were young, we built a lot of projects both in Africa and now in Israel... I'm sure I'll have a lot of stories to share with them," he said.