Asien — China’s National Defense in 2008

X. The Armed Forces and the People

The Chi­nese armed forces belong to the peo­ple. As stip­u­lat­ed by the Con­sti­tu­tion and laws, it is an impor­tant task for the armed forces to take part in nation­al devel­op­ment and dis­as­ter relief. Sup­port­ing the mil­i­tary and giv­ing pref­er­en­tial treat­ment to fam­i­lies of ser­vice­men and rev­o­lu­tion­ary mar­tyrs, and sup­port­ing the gov­ern­ment and cher­ish­ing the peo­ple (the “Two Sup­ports”) con­sti­tute the polit­i­cal basis for strength­en­ing the buildup of nation­al defense and the armed forces. 

Par­tic­i­pat­ing in Emer­gency Res­cue and Dis­as­ter Relief Oper­a­tions
The PLA, PAPF and the mili­tia are the shock force in emer­gency res­cue and dis­as­ter relief oper­a­tions. Their main tasks are to res­cue and evac­u­ate dis­as­ter vic­tims and peo­ple in dan­ger; ensure the secu­ri­ty of impor­tant facil­i­ties and areas; res­cue and trans­port impor­tant mate­ri­als and goods; par­tic­i­pate in spe­cial­ized oper­a­tions such as rush repairs of roads, bridges and tun­nels, mar­itime search and res­cue, NBC res­cue oper­a­tions, epi­dem­ic con­trol, and med­ical aid; elim­i­nate or con­trol oth­er major dan­gers and dis­as­ters; and assist local gov­ern­ments in post-dis­as­ter recon­struc­tion if nec­es­sary. In recent years the PLA has formed 19 units spe­cial­ized in flood con­trol and emer­gency res­cue operations. 

In June 2005 the State Coun­cil and the CMC pub­lished the Reg­u­la­tions on the Par­tic­i­pa­tion of the People’s Lib­er­a­tion Army in Emer­gency Res­cue and Dis­as­ter Relief. Accord­ing to the reg­u­la­tions, if the PLA is need­ed in emer­gency res­cue and dis­as­ter relief oper­a­tions orga­nized by the State Coun­cil, the depart­ment of the State Coun­cil in charge of the oper­a­tions may file a request to the Gen­er­al Staff Head­quar­ters. If the PLA is need­ed in such oper­a­tions orga­nized by the people’s gov­ern­ments at or above the coun­ty lev­el, the lat­ter may file a request via local mil­i­tary organs at the cor­re­spond­ing lev­el. How­ev­er, in case of emer­gency the local people’s gov­ern­ments may direct­ly request PLA units sta­tioned in the area to pro­vide assis­tance, and the lat­ter must take imme­di­ate action and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly report to the high­er author­i­ties, accord­ing to the reg­u­la­tions. Upon detect­ing any haz­ard or dis­as­ter, local PLA units must also take imme­di­ate action and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly report to the high­er author­i­ties. PLA units come under the uni­fied lead­er­ship of the people’s gov­ern­ment when par­tic­i­pat­ing in local emer­gency res­cue and dis­as­ter relief oper­a­tions. Their spe­cif­ic tasks are assigned by the head­quar­ters for the oper­a­tions, while their actions are direct­ed through the mil­i­tary chain of com­mand. In Novem­ber 2006 the CMC approved and issued the Mas­ter Sce­nario for Emer­gency Response. 

In the past two years the PLA and the PAPF have dis­patched a total of 600,000 troops/time, employed 630,000 vehi­cles (or machines)/time of var­i­ous types, flown over 6,500 sorties/time (includ­ing the use of heli­copters), mobi­lized 1.39 mil­lion mili­ti­a­men and reservists/time, par­tic­i­pat­ed in over 130 dis­as­ter relief oper­a­tions in cas­es of floods, earth­quakes, snow­storms, typhoons and fires, and res­cued or evac­u­at­ed a total of 10 mil­lion people. 

In Jan­u­ary 2008 large areas of south­ern Chi­na were strick­en by a sav­age spell of freez­ing weath­er, sleet and snow­storms. The PLA and the PAPF sent 224,000 troops and 1.036 mil­lion mili­ti­a­men and reservists, and flew 226 sorties/time (using mil­i­tary trans­port air­craft and heli­copters) to under­take urgent, dif­fi­cult, dan­ger­ous and heavy tasks, such as clear­ing major lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, res­cu­ing vic­tims and restor­ing pow­er supply. 

On May 12, 2008 an earth­quake mea­sur­ing 8.0 on the Richter scale rocked Wenchuan Coun­ty, Sichuan Province. In response, the PLA and the PAPF deployed 146,000 troops, mobi­lized 75,000 mili­ti­a­men and reservists, flew over 4,700 sorties/time (includ­ing the use of heli­copters) and employed 533,000 vehicles/time in the relief effort. They res­cued 3,338 sur­vivors, evac­u­at­ed 1.4 mil­lion local res­i­dents, and trans­port­ed, air­lift­ed and air-dropped 1.574 mil­lion tons of relief mate­ri­als. They sent 210 teams of med­ical work­ers, psy­chother­a­pists, and san­i­ta­tion and epi­dem­ic pre­ven­tion spe­cial­ists, and treat­ed 1.367 mil­lion injured peo­ple. The troops strict­ly observed dis­ci­pline, and kept detailed records of hun­dreds of mil­lions of yuan in cash and large quan­ti­ties of valu­ables recov­ered from the debris, all of which was hand­ed over to the own­ers or rel­e­vant depart­ments of local governments. 

Par­tic­i­pat­ing in Olympic Secu­ri­ty Work and Sup­port­ing the Prepa­ra­tions for the Olympics
At the request of the Bei­jing Orga­niz­ing Com­mit­tee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, the PLA and the PAPF active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in Olympic secu­ri­ty work, and sup­port­ed prepa­ra­tions for the Olympics and Par­a­lympics, mak­ing impor­tant con­tri­bu­tions to the suc­cess of the events. 

In secu­ri­ty work for the Olympics, the main respon­si­bil­i­ties of the PLA were to ensure the air secu­ri­ty of venues in and out­side Bei­jing and the mar­itime secu­ri­ty of Olympic venues in coastal and neigh­bor­ing areas; take part in the han­dling of ter­ror­ist inci­dents such as NBC (nuclear, bio­log­i­cal, and chem­i­cal) ter­ror­ist attacks and explo­sions; pro­vide intel­li­gence sup­port; orga­nize emer­gency res­cue, med­ical aid and heli­copter trans­porta­tion; and strength­en bor­der admin­is­tra­tion and con­trol dur­ing the Olympics. The PLA con­tributed 46,000 troops, 98 fixed-wing air­craft, 60 heli­copters, 63 ships, and some ground-to-air mis­siles, and radar, chem­i­cal defense and engi­neer­ing sup­port equip­ment. The PAPF was main­ly respon­si­ble for ensur­ing the secu­ri­ty of the torch relay; guard­ing Olympic venues, VIP res­i­dences and rel­e­vant air­ports; car­ry­ing out guard duties for the open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­monies, the activ­i­ties of impor­tant for­eign guests in Chi­na and major sports events; pro­tect­ing water, pow­er, oil and gas sup­ply facil­i­ties and com­mu­ni­ca­tion hubs close­ly relat­ed to the Olympics as well as the launch­ing sites of rock­ets used for arti­fi­cial rain­fall con­trol in Bei­jing, Tian­jin and Hebei; act­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with pub­lic secu­ri­ty organs to set up check­points in the neigh­bor­hood of Olympic venues and on major roads in the vicin­i­ty of Bei­jing, and to per­form armed patrols in impor­tant pub­lic places in cities host­ing or co-host­ing the Olympics; con­duct­ing secu­ri­ty checks at Olympic venues; and exe­cut­ing counter-ter­ror­ism, anti-hijack­ing and con­tin­gency response oper­a­tions. The PAPF con­tributed 85,000 troops to Olympic secu­ri­ty work, appro­pri­ate­ly han­dled near­ly 300 inci­dents which might have endan­gered guard­ed tar­gets, and con­fis­cat­ed over 9,000 pro­hib­it­ed items and over 140,000 lim­it­ed items. 

To sup­port the prepa­ra­tions for the Olympics, the PLA and the PAPF con­tributed over 14,000 pro­fes­sion­al and ama­teur per­form­ers to the open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­monies of the Olympics and Par­a­lympics. Over 6,900 vol­un­teers from the PLA and the PAPF under­took 84 kinds of sup­port tasks, includ­ing trans­port sup­port, flag rais­ing at medal pre­sen­ta­tion cer­e­monies, med­ical aid and var­i­ous ser­vices at Olympic venues. PLA and PAPF units sta­tioned in Bei­jing mobi­lized 670,000 troops/time to take part in the con­struc­tion of 36 key Olympic projects, such as the Avi­a­tion Cor­ri­dor of the Bei­jing Cap­i­tal Inter­na­tion­al Air­port and the Nation­al Olympic For­est Park. 

Par­tic­i­pat­ing in and Sup­port­ing Nation­al Con­struc­tion
Under the uni­fied arrange­ment of the Cen­tral People’s Gov­ern­ment and local people’s gov­ern­ments at all lev­els, the PLA and the PAPF active­ly par­tic­i­pate in all aspects of nation­al con­struc­tion. In the past two years they have put over 14 mil­lion work­days and one mil­lion vehi­cles (or machines)/time into this endeavor. 

Pro­vid­ing aid for con­struc­tion of infra­struc­ture and eco­log­i­cal projects. The PLA and the PAPF have sup­port­ed over 200 key con­struc­tion projects for ener­gy, trans­porta­tion, hydropow­er and com­mu­ni­ca­tions. They have tak­en part in over 170 projects for the pro­tec­tion of the eco­log­i­cal envi­ron­ment at such places as the upper and mid­dle reach­es of the Yel­low Riv­er and sources of sand­storms affect­ing Bei­jing and Tian­jin. They have afforest­ed three mil­lion mu (one mu is about 700 sq m) of bar­ren hills, waste land and des­o­late beach­es, and pro­vid­ed aer­i­al pro­tec­tion and main­te­nance for 24 mil­lion mu of forests. 

Par­tic­i­pat­ing in the build­ing of a new coun­try­side. The PLA and the PAPF pro­vide sup­port for the con­struc­tion of irri­ga­tion and water-con­ser­van­cy works and rur­al infra­struc­ture. They have built or repaired over 2,100 roads in pover­ty-strick­en rur­al areas, and com­plet­ed over 90,000 small con­struc­tion projects such as rur­al hydropow­er projects, drink­ing water projects for both peo­ple and live­stock, and projects for the improve­ment of small riv­er val­ley areas. They have also set up or con­sol­i­dat­ed 25,000 places of con­tact for pover­ty reduc­tion, and helped over 80,000 house­holds out of poverty. 

Sup­port­ing sci­en­tif­ic and tech­no­log­i­cal, edu­ca­tion­al, cul­tur­al and health under­tak­ings. The PLA and the PAPF have helped to train near­ly 10,000 peo­ple in var­i­ous skills, and set up 240 sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy demon­stra­tion cen­ters. They have built over 200 pri­ma­ry and sec­ondary schools, and helped 240,000 poor stu­dents com­plete their school­ing. They have estab­lished long-term assis­tance rela­tions with 470 coun­ty or town­ship hos­pi­tals in pover­ty-strick­en areas, and dis­patched 13,000 med­ical teams offer­ing free med­ical con­sul­ta­tion and treat­ment in 41 mil­lion cases. 

Sup­port­ing the eco­nom­ic and social devel­op­ment of areas inhab­it­ed by eth­nic minori­ties. The PLA and the PAPF have helped to build or enlarge three air­ports, five pow­er sta­tions and 12 water con­ser­van­cy facil­i­ties; repair over 900 km of high­ways; dig 300 wells; and build a total of 6,000 small rain­wa­ter cel­lars, small pow­er sta­tions, solar ener­gy instal­la­tions and TV trans­mis­sion facilities. 

Sup­port­ing Nation­al Defense and Armed Forces Mod­ern­iza­tion
Gov­ern­ments at all lev­els put great impor­tance on pro­vid­ing sup­port for the mod­ern­iza­tion of the armed forces in sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy, infor­ma­tion, human resources, edu­ca­tion and cul­ture. Local gov­ern­ments and mil­i­tary units joint­ly orga­nize meet­ings on mil­i­tary issues, work con­cern­ing the “Two Sup­ports” and infor­mal dis­cus­sions, in order to help the units over­come dif­fi­cul­ties in mil­i­tary train­ing, infra­struc­ture build­ing and the main­te­nance of servicemen’s rights and inter­ests. When the units engage in major tasks such as train­ing exer­cis­es, emer­gency res­cue and dis­as­ter relief, the local gov­ern­ments and peo­ple will sur­mount all dif­fi­cul­ties and pro­vide sup­port for their assem­bly, move­ment, and res­cue and relief efforts. Con­duct­ing wide­spread activ­i­ties to sup­port the armed forces in sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy, and edu­ca­tion and cul­ture, local gov­ern­ments and peo­ple all over the coun­try have set up over 2,000 cen­ters of sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy, helped to train peo­ple on 100,000 occa­sions in var­i­ous skills and donat­ed 20 mil­lion books. Gov­ern­ments at all lev­els make prop­er arrange­ments for the reset­tle­ment of ser­vice­men dis­charged form active ser­vice, their depen­dents, retirees and civil­ians work­ing in the armed forces, and take good care of those enti­tled to com­pen­sa­tion and pref­er­en­tial treat­ment. In the past two years, gov­ern­ments at all lev­els have made over 500 rel­e­vant nation­al and local poli­cies and reg­u­la­tions, and reset­tled over 100,000 offi­cers trans­ferred to civil­ian work, over 500,000 demo­bi­lized enlist­ed men, and over 60,000 retired offi­cers and civil­ians work­ing in the armed forces. 

Infor­ma­tion Office of the State Coun­cil of the People’s Repub­lic of China 

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