China’s armed forces are staunchly upholding world peace and stability
Embassy of The People’s Republic of China
The year 2020 marks the 93rd anniversary of the founding of People’s Liberation Army of China. On August 1, 1927, the Communist Party of China (CPC) launched the Nanchang Uprising to counter the anti-communist purges. The Nanchang Uprising was seen as CPC’s initial bid to establish the people’s army. The date August 1 is celebrated as China’s Armed Force Day, and August 1 has been used as the major symbol of the PLA flag and army emblem since 1949.
Under the strong leadership of CPC, the PLA has been growing in the past 93 years through battle, innovating through inheritance and has built a fortified national defence through development. The revolutionization, modernization and regularization of the PLA is constantly improving. The PLA has become a strong armed force that generally achieves mechanization, speeds up informationization, and combines all services and arms.
In the new era, guided by President Xi Jinping’s thought on strengthening the military, China is advancing defence and military modernization across the board and deepening reform in national defence and armed forces in all respects, with a focus on removing institutional barriers and solving structural and policy-related problems to adapt to the trends of worldwide RMA and the demands of national security. Historic strides have been made in strengthening the armed forces, thus reinforcing its ability tremendously to serve and safeguard the fundamental interests of the country and its people, and maintaining regional and global peace and stability.
Guardian of Nation and its People. The PLA has played a vital part in the historical course of the People’s Republic of China, liberating Chinese people from the oppression of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism under the leadership of CPC, winning victory in the new-democratic revolution and founding the People’s Republic of China, writing a glorious chapter of striving for liberation and happiness for the Chinese people.
The PLA effectively performs its missions in the new historical period, resolutely upholds the leadership of the CPC and the socialism with Chinese characteristics, safeguards China's sovereignty, security and development interests, safeguards the important period of strategic opportunities for China's development, and strives to provide a strong guarantee for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
This year China was hit by a devastating pandemic, Covid-19. The virus has spread faster and wider than any other since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and has proven to be the most difficult to contain. This epidemic is a major public health emergency. It is both a crisis and a major test for China. Putting people’s lives and health first, military medics from PLA are standing at the front line in Covid-19 fight at this critical time. Nearly 3,000 beds have been set up by 63 military hospitals designated to treat patients with Covid-19, with over 10,000 military medics working at the front line.
The PLA dispatched over 4,000 medical personnel to Hubei province, which was the epicenter of the pandemic, to work for epidemic prevention and control. Medical teams were formed within two hours of receiving the order, and they arrived at their destinations within 24 hours, carrying a seven-day stock of protective materials. They took on medical work in three designated medical institutions, including Huo Shenshan Hospital in Wuhan. On arrival, they started to treat patients right away. Showing professional devotion and deep respect for life, many of them risked their own lives, racing against time and working round the clock to try to save every patient. They built a Great Wall against the virus, bringing light and hope to the nation at a dark time, securing a strategic victory in the battle to defend the virus in the epicentre and the whole country.
Builder of World peace and Stability. The independent foreign policy of peace, the strategic decision to follow the path of peaceful development and China’s cultural traditions of cherishing peace and harmony determine that China pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. Never seeking hegemony, expansion or spheres of influence is the distinctive feature of China’s national defence in the new era. Upholding President Xi Jinping’s great vision of building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind, the PLA honors international responsibilities and obligations and makes important contributions to safeguarding world peace.
The PLA is proactive in supporting the UN peacekeeping operations (UNPKOS). As of December 2018, the PLA has participated in 24 UN peacekeeping missions and has contributed more than 39,000 peacekeepers. 13 Chinese peacekeepers have paid the ultimate price in service to peace, losing their lives serving under the UN flag. In the missions, China’s peacekeepers have built and repaired more than 13,000 km of roads, cleared and disposed of 10,342 mines and various items of unexploded ordnance, transported more than 1.35-million tons of materials over a total distance of more than 13 million kilometers, treated more than 170,000 patients and fulfilled more than 300 armed escorts and long or short-distance patrols. The PLA has made active efforts to train international peacekeepers and trained over 1,500 individuals from dozens of countries.
In line with relevant UNSC resolutions, since December 2008, the PLA Navy has dispatched 35 naval conveys to carry out regular vessel protection operations in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the coast of Somalia. Chinese PLAN task groups cooperate with multiple naval forces in the area to safeguard international SLOCs. In the past decade, more than 100 vessels and 26,000 officers and sailors have been regularly deployed in 35 conveys, each consisting of three to four ships, in vessel protection operations. They have provided security protection for over 6,600 Chinese and foreign ships, and rescued, protected or assisted more than 70 ships in distress.
The PLA actively develops constructive relationships with foreign militaries. A new landscape of foreign military relations which is all-dimensional, wide-ranging and multi-tiered is taking shape. The PLA has engaged in military exchanges with more than 150 countries and set up 130 offices of military attaches and military representatives at Chinese diplomatic missions abroad, while 116 countries have established military attache’s office in China. In addition, the PLA has put in place 54 defence consultation and dialogue mechanisms with 41 countries and international organizations.
When coronavirus is raging all over the world, the PLA is committed to building a global community of health for all. The PLA has sent Covid-19 containment supplies, including protective suits, medical masks and forehead thermometers, to militaries of 12 countries by air force planes. They have been sent to countries such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Cuba, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Tunisia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan etc. The PLA has shared its experience in fighting Covid-19 with militaries from South Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Ukraine via video link separately in early May. In the face of this crisis, humanity once again stands at a crossroads, the PLA will continue to strengthen international cooperation with national defense departments and the militaries in other countries to contain the pandemic.
Contributor to African Peace and Security. As the continent with the largest number of developing countries, Africa’s peace and stability bears on the security and development of the whole world. It is in the common interests of the world and the common responsibility of the international community to support Africa in achieving lasting peace and sustainable development. Guided by the principles enunciated by President Xi Jinping for China-Africa relations, namely sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and pursuing the greater good and shared interests, the PLA is firmly committed to supporting Africa in achieving lasting peace, and playing a more active role in Africa’s peace and security affairs.
China firmly supports African countries and the African Union as well as other regional organizations in Africa in solving African issues in the African way, supports the African initiative of “Silencing the Guns in Africa”. China has delivered $180 m worth of military aid free of charge to the AU, supporting the construction of the African Standby Force and counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel region and the building of UN forces.
The PLA has actively participated in the UN peacekeeping missions in Africa. At present more than 2,000, or more than 80%, of Chinese peacekeepers are stationed in Africa, and 75% of China’s peacekeeping financial contributions are channeled to Africa. When the Covid-19 pandemic is raging in Africa, the PLA has donated medical supplies worth of US$290,000 to the Rwanda Defence Force to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in early June. The Chinese Embassy to the Republic of Congo transferred the anti-pandemic medical supplies donated by China's Ministry of National Defense to Congo on June 5.
Under the joint strategic leadership of two presidents, the China-South Africa military relationship between the two armed forces has entered a fast track in recent years. Military-to-military exchanges at high level have been frequent; exchanges and cooperation have been expanding steadily to more areas across different services. The cooperation on maritime security, logistics support, and military education has been effective and fruitful. The military cooperation action plan was reviewed and adopted at the 8th meeting of the China-South Africa Defence Committee in 2018, laying a solid foundation for the further development of military-to-military relations between our two countries.
When South Africa was at its early stage in the unfolding pandemic, the PLA and SANDF stepped up its bilateral cooperation on the military health field. The PLA shared the first-hand information with SANDF timely, provided epidemic control supplies, and assisted the South Africa government to repatriate its nationals from Wu Han City, the then epicenter of pandemic. A military medical teleconference between SANDF and the PLA was held on 8 May to promote the capability of Covid-19 prevention and control of the SANDF. The Chinese experts shared their experience and suggestions in fighting the virus, such as infection control, respiratory, nephrology, sterilization, critical care and germ and epidemic research. The SANDF is the first partner in Africa to partake in a military medical cooperation teleconference with the Chinese PLA, demonstrating the increasing comprehensive strategic partnership and special friendship between China and South Africa and the two militaries.
At a new historical starting point, the PLA is ready to work with SANDF and other armed forces of African countries to realize the vision of lasting peace in Africa.
In the new era, guided by President Xi Jinping’s thought on strengthening the military, the PLA has the confidence and ability to write a new chapter in building of strong military and make new contributions to towards realization of the China dream of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and safeguarding world peace. The PLA stands ready to provide strong strategic support for the realization of the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, and to make new and greater contributions to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL.