Eternal vigil at the nation's 'eastern gate'
Sailors undertake physical training at the radar facility as thick fog shrouds Dongfushan last month. [Photo by WANG ZHUANGFEI/CHINA DAILY]
Liu Yu, a young recruit, has found friends whose values and spirit he can emulate.
"Before coming here, I didn't have any idea about the future or a strong faith in life. However, I have met many friends from across China on the island. Through living with and talking to them, I have gained insights into how to live a meaningful life," the 19-year-old said.
"Unlike my friends in high school, most of my comrades, even those from wealthy families, know they should be independent from their parents and make a life on their own."
Fan said the island is now his second home.
"When I am here, I miss my family, but when I am at home, I miss my comrades. My family understands and supports my work," he said.
"We can't relax mentally even for a second because we are located in the East China Sea. Our country's eastern gate needs to be guarded by someone－we are that 'someone' and we are not afraid of any hardships."
Zhang Rongrong contributed to this story.