The quiet man who is a big noise at a vital outpost
Naranmand (center) questions a truck driver at the China-Mongolia border at Bayannuur, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, last month. [Photo/China Daily]
From 2000 to 2004, the pass was only open 20 days per season to allow mutton and beef to be imported.
"Meat products from Mongolia have to be cleared before entering China. If not, we define them as illegal goods. But some Mongolians attempt to bring in raw meat or cashmere to trade, catching the tide of the open period," Naranmand said.
"On one occasion I didn't find any suspect goods during a regular car inspection. However, I noticed that the driver was avoiding eye contact and then I saw his traditional Mongolian garments were bulging.
"As he got out of the car, I touched his clothes and detected something underneath. It turned out that he had strapped slabs of mutton to his body with rope, tying them to his chest and waist under his garments to avoid the inspection."
As a native of Inner Mongolia, Naranmand takes advantage of his fluent Mongolian to communicate with cross-border visitors and drivers.
The translations he provides greatly improve the efficiency of customs clearance.
The daily inspection record for his border team is 3,899 people, 3,340 vehicles and 121,600 tons of goods.
"Many younger members of my team can't speak Mongolian, so I send five sentences in Mongolian each day to our WeChat group for them to learn. A monthly quiz helps them grasp daily conversations," Naranmand said.
Described by colleagues as "a quiet leader with a poker face", he is known as a good father who treats his daughter with great tenderness.
One colleague, Cui Yunlong, said: "I heard him video chatting with his 14-year-old daughter in Mongolian. I couldn't understand every word, but I was touched by his soft voice, which should be echoed by all fathers."
Five years ago, Naranmand established a foundation to support impoverished children and students.
In 2017, the foundation donated about 5,000 yuan to Yang Yanzhen, a senior middle school student in Bayannuur, who later enrolled at Beijing Wuzi University.
"The school things I bought with the money were certainly helpful, but what's more important is that I worked really hard for the gaokao (the national college entry exam) to make sure I didn't let people down," said Yang, who is in her sophomore year.
"To be honest, other people refused to sponsor me, partly because I don't say much, so I'm really grateful for the foundation's donation," she added.
"The officers work in a challenging environment, but they were still willing to lend a hand."