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Defence & Aerospace

China’s secretive military cracks open door for glimpse inside

A tank is driven down a slope during an organised media tour at a People's Liberation Army (PLA) engineering academy in Beijing July 22, 2014.

A tank is driven down a slope during an organised media tour at a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) engineering academy in Beijing July 22, 2014.

With dancing robots and smiling soldiers and to the strains of British singer George Michael, China cracked open the door on its secretive armed forces on Tuesday during Beijing’s annual attempt to assuage worries about its growing military might.

China has jangled regional nerves over the past few months with an increasing assertiveness over territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas, set against the backdrop of rising defense spending.

But on a yearly trip for foreign reporters to a Chinese military base, this time to an engineering academy in Beijing’s southwestern suburbs, officers went to great lengths to put a non-threatening face on the world’s largest military.

“It is not necessary to pick an enemy or an opponent for combat while developing ones military. I think the People’s Liberation Army’s development is in line with China’s overall development,” base commander Xu Hang told reporters.

During a carefully escorted tour of the leafy base, soldiers stopped to chat and patiently answer questions about everything from their salary to why they wanted to join up.

At one point a group of cadets proudly showed off miniature dancing robots they had designed, as piped Western pop music played in the background, including a musak-version of George Michael’s “Careless Whisper“.

“When I was small I wanted really badly to be a soldier,” said a beaming Liao Guofeng, 26. “In China soldiers get respect and now my dream has come true.”

The base, though, exists for a more serious purpose — to train up and coming officers for leadership with a specific focus on tanks.

The base also sits very close to one of China’s most potently symbolic sites, the Marco Polo Bridge, where a skirmish in 1937 sparked an all-out Sino-Japanese war and which today is a place of somber remembrance.

China-Japan ties are at the lowest ebb in years due not only to the dispute over a group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, but also friction over a shared bitter wartime past.

Commander Xu said his cadets made regular visits not only to the bridge but other places of historic importance.

“It is a normal practice for us to educate cadets about the fine traditions of the People’s Liberation Army and bring them to important locations that tell the history of the military and the country,” he added.

Despite the military’s attempts at openness — this visit was the seventh of its kind for foreign journalists — a culture of secrecy and suspicion remains deeply embedded in China.

That had added to concern that China is not telling the whole truth when it comes to defense spending, a figure that this year will rise by 12.2 percent to 808.2 billion yuan ($130 billion), a number many governments and analysts say is not representative of the country’s true defense outlays.

Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng brushed off such worries, saying Beijing was committed to transparency and explaining itself to the outside world.

“We’ve noticed in recent years that along with China’s international influence increasing so has exposure globally to its military. But there are some reports on China’s military which are not quite accurate or are mistaken,” he told reporters. “So giving foreign reporters this experience is extremely necessary.”

Still, Geng prevaricated when asked if next year’s trip might be to visit China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.

“I can’t say that this possibility does not exist,” Geng said. “At this time of year there are lots of military exercises going on, so perhaps going now would not work.”

Source: Reuters “China’s secretive military cracks open door for glimpse inside”

About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee


2 thoughts on “China’s secretive military cracks open door for glimpse inside

  1. Chin’a’s semi- secretive miltary is an advantage over America’s more-or-less transparent military.

    Editor’s Note: In response to the many emails about this poster, we do suspect he’s a paid Chinese internet commentator. However, we believe that all people should be allowed to voice their opinions, not just the ones that agree with our agenda. Therefore, at this stage we will not ban him.


    Posted by Mark Chan | July 24, 2014, 1:03 am


  1. Pingback: China says it high-altitude long-range anti-stealth “Shendiao” drone is better than US drone | China Daily Mail - June 2, 2015

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