SCIO briefing on PLA construction and development

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 24, 2017
Adjust font size:

Senior Colonel Lu Yu, deputy director-general of the Legislative Affairs Office, the General Office of the Central Military Commission (CMC);
Major General Zhou Shangping, deputy director-general of the Operations Bureau, the Joint Staff Department of the CMC;
Senior Colonel Zhang Chengwen, deputy chief of the General Office, the Political Work Department of the CMC;
Senior Colonel Wu Qian, deputy director-general of the Information Office of the Ministry of National Defense and its current spokesperson

Hu Kaihong, spokesperson of the State Council Information Office

July 24, 2017

Hu Kaihong:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to today's press conference. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). The PLA, having gone through 90 years of glory, will celebrate on August 1. Today, we are delighted to invite Senior Colonel Lu Yu, deputy director-general of the Legislative Affairs Office of the General Office of the Central Military Commission (CMC); Major General Zhou Shangping, deputy director-general of the Operations Bureau of the Joint Staff Department of the CMC; Senior Colonel Zhang Chengwen, deputy chief of the General Office of the Political Work Department of the CMC; and Senior Colonel Wu Qian, deputy director-general of Information Office of the Ministry of National Defense and its current spokesperson, to introduce various aspects of the construction and development of the PLA. They will also answer some of your questions. Now, let's welcome Senior Colonel Wu Qian to give his briefing.

Wu Qian:

Ladies and gentlemen, friends, good morning.

The PLA has gone through 90 years of glory and great endeavor. During those 90 years, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the PLA has made an indelible historical contribution to the great liberation of the Chinese people, to China's socialist construction and reform, safeguarding State sovereignty, security and the interests of national development, and to the cause of world peace and progress of humanity. The PLA is known in the world as a mighty, civilized force for peace.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the PLA has resolutely abided by the decisions and instructions of the CPC Central Committee and the Central Military Commission (CMC), earnestly studied and implemented the content of President Xi Jinping's important speeches, in particular his important exposition on national defense and army building. In pursuing the Party's vision of a strong army under the new situation, we are making great efforts to enhance the PLA's political awareness, intensify the study and application of the Party's innovative theories, and cultivate a new generation of revolutionary service personnel who are faithful, competent and courageous with outstanding moral integrity. We are making efforts to enhance the consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, uphold the leadership core, and keep in alignment. We are also making efforts to creatively improve our political work. In this way, we can ensure that the PLA's development is always moving in the right direction politically. Focusing on combat readiness and effectiveness, and guided by the military strategy under the new situation, we have established a fine fighting capability standard, expanded and intensified preparations for any military struggle, improved, in particular, the joint operational command, and modified military training to be more realistic and practical. We have comprehensively built a modern logistics capability, capitalized on science and technology to boost military development, implemented the strategy of civil-military integration, cultivated high-caliber people able to undertake the responsibilities of building a fine army, and steadily improved our war-fighting capability. We are comprehensively carrying out reforms to advance army building, concentrating on addressing institutional impediments, structural constraints and policy-related problems, setting up the framework of the new military system, optimizing the size and constitution of the PLA, and working towards major breakthroughs in important fields and key aspects. We have thoroughly advanced the rule of law in the PLA, unswervingly upheld discipline and fought corruption, facilitated the "three fundamental transformations" of the means of military administration, nurtured greater faith in and awareness of the rule of law among all service personnel, and improved the military legal system with Chinese characteristics, so as to press ahead defense and military development governed by the rule of law. The PLA continues to actively expand exchanges with foreign military forces, and has participated in a range of international peacekeeping, blue-water escort and humanitarian relief operations, thus showing a positive image and strong commitment of a military force from a major country. As our national defense and army building makes historical progress and takes on a new look, the PLA is striding further down the path of army building with Chinese characteristics.

Looking back, the Party has been leading the people's army through the years of magnificent revolution, construction and development. The many remarkable feats are immortalized in history, and its brilliant achievements renowned around the world. Looking into the future, the people's army, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as its core, will make great strides in building a prosperous country and a strong army. PLA men and women, committed to socialism with Chinese characteristics, and following the guidance of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development, will thoroughly study and implement the contents of President Xi's important speeches, especially the important exposition on national defense and army building, and endeavor to realize the goal of building a world-class army. We will waste no time in advancing national defense and military modernization, resolutely safeguard State sovereignty, security and development interests, staunchly support the realization of the "two centenary goals" and the Chinese dream of great national renewal, and look forward to the 19th CPC National Congress with high spirit and morale.

Hu Kaihong:

Thank you. Now, the floor is open to questions. Please identify the media you represent before raising a question.


It is generally known that the PLA has received overall political training since the military political work conference in Gutian three years ago. Could you brief on the efforts made in strengthen the army's ideological and political development since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC)? Thank you.

Zhang Chengwen:

I will answer your question. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, Chinese President Xi Jinping has, with his strategic outlook for the cause of military consolidation and national rejuvenation, envisioned the progress of military forces under political guidelines for the new course. The military work conference in Gutianat the end of 2014, in particular, marked the refreshing of political strategies for building the army in changing situations and ushered in a new scenario for the Party to lead the armies with consolidated thoughts and strong political awareness.

Recognize the important role of political work in the army building stressed by President Xi, the PLA is endeavoring to build a world-class army by bearing in mind the construction of invincible military forces, complying by the essence of the conference in Gutian, upholding the power of the central authority, the leading core, and the mechanism with which the responsibilities of the army are assumed by the military chief, safeguarding the CPC's absolute command of the troops and deepening our knowledge with President Xi's important speeches and strategies of state governance. We'll give full play to competent military officers and will never slacken the efforts to deepen the fight against corruption in the army so that a new generation of PLA can be grown with the loyalty and faithfulness required for a well-disciplined and highly-responsible army.

The past few years have witnessed fundamental changes in military development, following improved political settings, a revamped image of the PLA and surging morale and confidence that have increased the devotion to the army. So to speak, it is in the five years after the 18th CPC National Congress that the political environment has been cleaned, military construction has turned positive and the political work in the army has regained esteem with an improved image. It is also the five-year stint where the PLA has been disciplined and outfitted for a renewed image that has justified its spearhead role. The past five years also manifested President Xi's underlined political strategies for the future course of the PLA.

Phoenix TV:

We know the armed forces are now engaged in deepening reform. However, some people hold that the time of reform is also a vulnerable time. How can we maintain combat readiness, especially in the time of the adjustment of the layout of our combat troops, and will the combat readiness be affected during the period?

Zhou Shangping:

I would like to answer the question. It is known that maintaining constant combat readiness is a basic requirement of any armed force in order to ensure its fighting capabilities to achieve victory. The main aim of this reform is enhancing the preparedness for war and capabilities in war, by straightening out command relationships, optimizing the organizational structure and enriching the overall level of the combat forces. According to the decisions and instructions of President Xi Jinping and the Central Military Commission (CMC), the CMC works out an implementation plan that is capable of adjusting the combat troops step by step and introduces a series of measures for improving combat readiness, maintaining sufficient troops on duty, organizing spot tests of combat readiness and strengthening sea and air patrols, far-sea training and trans-regional joint maneuvers.

The armed forces are maintaining constant combat readiness that means ensuring the troops are ready to assemble at the first call and are capable of fighting and winning. We are capable of dealing with a diverse range of security threats, resolutely safeguarding China's sovereignty, security and development interests. Thank you.


The PLA now is stressing the promotion of rule of law and enforcing strict discipline. My question is, what transformation will it bring to PLA's traditional administrative methods, and how will the transformation be achieved? Thanks.

Lu Yu:

I will take this question. President Xi stressed that in further promoting the running of the armed forces with strict discipline and in accordance with the rule of law, we should change the administrative means according to rule of law and realize the "three fundamental transformations",which refer to a working mode shift from purely relying on administrative order to administration according to rule of law; from working based on habits and experience to working based on regulations, laws and system; and from sudden, campaign-like work to dealing with business according to rules and regulations. The entire PLA will unswervingly implement President Xi's instructions, speeding up the transformation of means of leading and directing, making great efforts to advance institutional innovation, institutional leadership and guidance, and institutional regulation, so as to promote realization of the "three fundamental transformations." The three main aspects are:

First, enhancing the leadership command system in accordance with the rule of law. On the basis of the principle of that decision-making power, executive power and supervisory power can interact and be coordinated, the PLA designed and set up various institutions in a scientific way, allocated powers in a reasonable manner, concentrated efforts on strengthening centralized and unified leadership of the Central Military Commission, re-defined the fundamental functions of the military commission organs, promoted the legalization of the administrative mode and operation mechanism, and realizeda significant transformation of the means of military administration.

Second, insisting on propelling all work in accordance with the thought and means of rule of law. Officers at all levels should adapt themselves to the new system, reinforce and enhance their conceptions and willpower to guide and implement the work according to the law, persist in resolving problems and conflicts emerging during the process of army building and reformaccording to the law, create a denser environment for the rule of law where everyone does things and solves problems within the law.

Third, we must promote the formation of a good working mechanism according to law. On the basis of standardization,procedure and meticulous management, the PLA needs to enhance its rules of procedure for decision-making and guidance as well as using its rights and powers to handle affairs. The good situation where the Party committees make decisions based on law, organs issue instructions based on law, the army acts in missions based on law, and soldiers and officers carry out their duties based on law is now taking shape.


Last weekend, Chinese warships appeared in waters off Queensland of Eastern Australia, which was perceived as being an action monitoring an ongoing joint military exercises between Australia and the United States. Local officials described this as an unfriendly and provocative move. Prior to this, we also noticed that Chinese naval vessels crossed the English Channel to conduct military exercises with their Russian counterparts. In addition, when the United States was testing the "THAAD" anti-missile system, a Chinese warship appeared in waters off Alaska. What is the motivation of China behind this series of high-profile actions? What kind of signal is China sending to the international community? Is this a new normal for the international community to accept in the process that China builds its "Blue-Water" navy? Thank you.

Wu Qian:

Let me start by saying that I do not think there is any high-profile action regarding the Chinese military. As I have mentioned just now, the PLA is actively expanding its military communications network, and widely participating in international peacekeeping, open sea escort, humanitarian aid and disaster assistance, which embodies the image and responsibilities of the military arm of a major country.

I would also like to stress that in non-territorial waters, Chinese warships, just like warships of other countries, have the right to freedom of navigation. Thank you.


Can you give us more information of the progress made since the new joint battle command agencies were established more than one year ago?

Zhou Shangping:

I will take your question. According to the decisions and instructions of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and President Xi Jinping, and as per the requirement to establish joint battle command agencies that are absolutely loyal, resourceful in fighting, efficient in commanding and courageous and capable of winning wars, and a battle command system that applies in both peacetime and wartime, operates as a normality, has a clear focus and works efficiently, the PLA has created a two-tier "the CMC-theatre commands" joint battle command center and a three-tier "the CMC-theatre commands-troops" battle command system. It has also improved supporting rules and regulations as well as operational mechanisms.

Over the past more than one year, by fully carrying out the military strategic guideline for the new period, the two-tier command center have focused on studying its core function of fighting and commanding battles, significantly enhanced its joint battle command capability, grasped real-time information about border, and coastal and air defense, and efficiently coped with all kinds of emergencies, hence playing its due role in maintaining China's sovereignty, security and development interests, and the stability of the overall strategic situation.


China News Service:

We've noticed that when geological disasters such as earthquakes or landslides happen in China, PLA soldiers will always rush to the affected areas for emergency services. My question is, over the past 90 years, what has the PLA achieved through its political work to ensure that the army can win the popularity and support of the general public?

Zhang Chengwen:

Let me answer your question. Since the establishment of the PLA, we have laid great emphasis on ideological and political work, which has played significant roles in making the army grow from small to large, from weakness to strength and achieved victory after victory.

Germinated in the Great Revolutionary period of 1921 to 1927, the political work of the PLA was established in 1927 and laid its foundation in 1929 during the Gutian Meeting. During the long-term revolution, construction and reform process, it has been enriched and developed into a set of fine traditions, including the cardinal principle and system of "the Party commands the gun," the fundamental purpose of "serving the people wholeheartedly," the ideological line of "seeking truth from facts," the working style of the mass line, the practice of arming officers and soldiers with scientific theory, offering services to guarantee the smooth operation of the central task of the Party and the army, selecting and appointing cadres in a fair and candid way, adhering to the unity between officers and soldiers, promoting democracy, implementing strict disciplines consciously, making arduous efforts and selfless devotion in our work, and insisting on Party members taking the lead and so on.

All these fine traditions, being the fundamental rules and content of the political work of the PLA, are cast with the blood and lives of our revolutionary predecessors and we should carry forward them generation after generation.

India Today Group:

Can you share some details on the recent military exercises held by the Western Theater Command in Tibet, and the latest situation in the Doklam area where there is a standoff with India?

Wu Qian:

In mid-June, when the Chinese frontier forces were building roads in the Doklam region, Indian troops crossed into China's territory, and obstructed the Chinese side's normal activities. The Doklam region belongs to China. The Chinese side's activities were within China's sovereignty, and were fully just and lawful. The Indian troops crossed the determined boundary between the two countries. Their activity greatly undermined China's sovereignty and severely breached international law.

China is resolute in safeguarding its territory and sovereignty. No efforts will be spared in this regard. The Chinese troops have taken emergency countermeasures and they will make further deployments as well as undertaking further military drills accordingly.

We urge India to immediately withdraw the troops that crossed the border. Only on this basis can we seek a solution to the incident. Maintaining peace in border areas is key to regional peace and stability. It serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and the two peoples. Therefore, we demand India to correct mistakes, stop provocative acts, and work with us to maintain peace and stability in border areas.

I would like to remind India to stop counting on luck or to hold onto unrealistic dreams. Since the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army 90 years ago the PLA has never ceased improving its ability to safeguard the country. We are determined to safeguard China's sovereignty and territory, and no one can defeat us.

China Daily:

In recent years, Chinese military forces have engaged in an increasing number of foreign exchange activities in a wider range of areas. Could you tell us the achievements that Chinese military forces have made in this regard?

Wu Qian:

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Chinese military forces have entered a new era in military diplomacy.

Our diplomatic activities have become increasingly active, pragmatic and self-motivated. We have made further progress in maintaining stable relationships with big countries; we have deepened communication with neighboring countries; we have further consolidated relations with developing countries. Through international military exchange and cooperation activities, we have gained a bigger say in the world when participating in global governance. We have also efficiently fulfilled our international responsibilities, and made new contributions to world peace and development.

Fruitful results have been achieved in the past, and the future is even brighter. We will make more endeavors to enhance international military cooperation, and build the Chinese army into a world-class army.

Southern Metropolis Daily:

August 1 of this year marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). It is said that relevant military parades and celebrations will probably be held during the period. Would you like to confirm it? Thank you.

Wu Qian:

With regard to the question you have mentioned, we will release relevant information in due course. Thank you.

Xinhua News Agency:

The PLA is being engaged in a grand military reform known as the "most important reform in Chinese history." Could you please give us a brief introduction to the latest progress and achievements in the reform of China's defense and army building? Thank you.

Wu Qian:

I would like to take your question. Under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the Central Military Commission (CMC) and President Xi Jinping, China is pushing forward the reform of national defense and the PLA in a planned and step-by-step manner, and we have made significant breakthroughs in some major areas and key links.

Taking the reform of the leadership and command system as the first step, the PLA have set up a new command operations pattern, in which the CMC is the highest policy-making body responsible for the overall strategic development of the PLA; the battle zones are only responsible for combat training and combat command of the troops under their jurisdiction; and all services are only responsible for army building and won't intervene in specific command matters. This approach has realized a historical change in the PLA's organizational structure.

Under this process, we have set up the framework of the new military system involving optimizing the size and constitution of the PLA, and carried out the reform of military academies, research institutions and training institutions. In addition, the work related to transferring and organizing troops from one unit to another is progressing orderly. As soon as all the reforms are completed, the PLA will be more capable, more scientific and more optimized.

The adjustment and reform of military policies and systems is also advancing steadily. We have introduced the supporting policies and systems in the fields of military human resources and logistics. Moreover, we also have taken substantial measures in implementing the strategy of civil-military integration. The CPC Central Committee has decided to set up a central civil-military integration development committee to further strengthen the centralized and unified leadership in the development of civil-military integration and to accelerate the integration to boost a development framework featuring complete elements, multi-fields and high benefit.

Thank you.

China Global Television Network (CGTN):

An advanced country in the world is observed as one governed by laws and a modern military force must also abide by the rule of law. However, certain officers have violated Party disciplines and military regulations as is evidenced by the rise of corruption. Therefore, could you please tell us how the army has pressed ahead with law-based governance since the 18th CPC National Congress? Thank you.

Lu Yu:

I would like to answer your question. President Xi has stressed that strict law-based governance has always worked as a solid foundation to reinforce military development and acted as a fundamental strategy for the Party to build and run the army.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the entire PLA has adhered to the strategies envisioned by President Xi in view of law-based military discipline, complied to the deployments following the decisions of CPC Central Committee and the Central Military Commission, enhanced the faith and awareness of the rule of law, changed the management mode in accordance with law, accelerated the construction of a military legal system with distinctive Chinese features and fortified the level of rule of law in national defense and military construction.

The following four points support this.

First, the military legislation launched to rule the military troops are gauged by its effectiveness for whether it can enhance the strength of military forces. Military officers and soldiers have anticipated and developed necessary legislation which is indispensable for reform and the potential preparation for action. The portfolio of military laws and regulations with distinctive Chinese features has continued to be improved. Over the past five years, the country has mandated three military laws, 53 codes and more than 800 rules.

Second, there are three fundamental changes to accelerate the reform of military discipline. In accordance with the rule of law, the leadership and instruction methods have pressed ahead with changes and military construction and reform have developed smoothly along the course of legal governance. A good situation is taking shape as the Party committee, authorities, soldiers and officers assume their duties in accordance with the law.

Third, the enforcement of military laws and regulations have been constrained and supervised to oversee the exercise of power. Combining diverse oversight measures can strengthen military discipline, enhance law enforcement, exert strong influence over the army and maintain a zero tolerance to any violations, in order to make laws and regulations as unbroken vows.

Fourth, we constantly strengthen the faith and enhance the awareness of the rule of law of soldiers and officers. The officers, as a minority, have been given full play to press ahead with legal education by holding events inside the military camps and by arousing the interests of the military staff to study and to act in accordance with the law.

Looking back on the achievements made during the past five years, law-based military developments containing distinctive Chinese features and the guidelines of President Xi's strategic thoughts has accelerated into the fast lane. To rule the military forces by law has, therefore, opened up a new historical chapter and marked a new journey of the military's legal development.


It was reported that the Vietnamese government authorized mineral rights to be released for some foreign petroleum companies in the South China Sea region. Can you offer some relevant information on this? Is the Chinese People's Liberation Army preparing to strengthen work in the relevant sea areas? The second question, some reports have said that a Vietnamese fishing boat was damaged by Chinese naval vessels. Can you confirm this? Thank you.

Wu Qian:

China has sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao and their surrounding waters and the sovereignty has a sufficient historical and legal basis. The Chinese People's Liberation Army undertakes its responsibilities in safeguarding China's sovereignty, security and development interests. About your specific questions, I don't have any information.

Shenzhen TV:

The 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army is on August 1. According to the custom that "large-scale celebrations are held every 10 years, with smaller-scale celebrations every five years", at this important juncture of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, what commemorative activities will be held by the PLA? Thank you.

Wu Qian:

Last Friday, we held one such commemoratory activity, an exhibition marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army. About other activities, we will release relevant information in due course.

New York Times:

The Korean Peninsula is an international hotspot about which everyone is concerned, especially when the further development of nuclear weapons by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea recently has stoked up regional tension. In regard to this situation, if there are military conflicts or even wars on the peninsula, what will be the response of the Chinese army? Thank you.

Wu Qian:

This is a hypothetical question, and it is not appropriate to answer it here. I can say that China is committed to realizing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, and settling the nuclear issue through dialogues and consultation in a peaceful manner. Thank you.

Hu Kaihong:

Today's press conference ends up here. Thank you all.

By Li Xiaohua, Chen Xia, Li Jingrong, Zhang Rui, Wu Jin, Yuan Fang, Li Huiru, He Shan, Zhou Jing, Mi Xingang, Gao Zhan, Zhang Jiaqi, Cui Can

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:    
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from