Jinan officer carves out career from explosives experience

By JIANG CHENGLONG| (China Daily)| Updated : 2022-09-15

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Officer Zhang Baoguo, a 58-year-old police officer from Jinan, the capital of Shandong province, works diligently to keep his city safe. Unlike his fellow officers though, Zhang's reputation for success does not come from taking down criminals, but rather from disposing of some 4,000 shells and bombs left over from times of war and for destroying some 300,000 confiscated detonators since 1999, the year he left the army to join the police force.

After graduating from the PLA's Ordnance Engineering Academy in 1988, where he studied ammunition and explosives, Zhang worked for 10 years on fixing and defusing ammunition during his time in the army.

After becoming an officer, he chose to be involved with explosives for the police force because he wanted to achieve personal value by continuing the work he had begun in the army.

"I had already developed a great deal of experience in handling explosives and Jinan, which was undergoing massive economic development, also needed professionals like me," he said.

Caches of ammunition discarded during the war were frequently discovered on construction sites across the provincial capital, seriously threatening safety and delaying building projects.

"I could feel the local government's anxiety and the fear of the people living near the danger," Zhang said. "I realized that I could serve society better by continuing to make use of my skills."

As he shifted into his role as a police officer, he brought with him the deep sense of responsibility he had developed during his military career.

During the course of an operation in 2005, Zhang was seriously burned by an explosive that spontaneously combusted as he attempted to protect his fellow officers.

Over the course of the following six months, he was hospitalized twice, underwent two major skin grafts and several rounds of rehabilitation, and was eventually able to recover the use of his hands. Just three days after his last stay in hospital, he returned to the site.

"I just felt like the later I returned to deal with the explosives, the more danger people would be in. I think that's the quality of a soldier," Zhang said, adding that this is the reason he has continued to do this kind of work for nearly three decades.

Looking back, he said that he believes that the knowledge, courage and devotion he developed in the military have had an extremely positive effect on his police work.

"All my knowledge and skills were gained during my 15-year military career," he said. "And it is the army that cultivated my willingness to devote myself to helping others, to not fear danger and to make sacrifices."

Due to Zhang's outstanding and consistent performance, he was designated as one of the country's "most beautiful veterans" by the Ministry of Veterans Affairs at the end of 2018.

"The more work you do, the more difference you make to others," he said, stressing that he aims to continue to help maintain stability and keep people safe.