Armed Forces

  • Brief Introduction

  • National Defense Policy

  • Armed Forces

  • Defense Expenditure

The armed forces of the People's Republic of China (PRC) are composed of four forces--the active components of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the reserve forces, the Chinese People's Armed Police Force and the militia. The active components of the PLA, divided into seven military area commands, are the country's standing army, consisting of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Second Artillery Force, military academies and institutes of scientific and technological research for national defense. They perform the duty of conducting operations of defense, and, if necessary, helping to maintain social order in accordance with the law. The PLA's reserve force receives military training in peacetime in accordance with relevant regulations, and, if necessary, helps to maintain social order in accordance with the law. In wartime, it may be called into active service in pursuance of a state mobilization order. The CMC of the PRC directs and assumes unified command of the nation's armed forces, active and reserve. Through the General Staff Headquarters, the General Political Department, the General Logistics Department and the General Armaments Department, the CMC exercises operational command over the whole PLA and leadership for the development of the PLA.

A new-generation tank of the Chinese People's Liberation Army is in a field drill.

The Armed Police Force was established in June 1982. Internal security forces are the mainstay of the Armed Police Force, together with the frontier police force, fire brigades and security guards subject to the command of public security organs and water conservancy and electricity power, transportation, gold mine and forest forces under dual leadership of relevant agencies of the State Council and the Armed Police Force. The primary missions of the Armed Police Force are to safeguard state sovereignty and dignity, to maintain social order and security and to guard the Party and government leading organs, key targets of protection in the country and the safety of people's life and property. The Armed Police Force implements the Military Service Law of the PRC and the PLA's orders, rules and regulations, and enjoys the same benefits as those of the PLA. The Armed Police Force is subordinate to the State Council. It is under the dual leadership of the State Council and the CMC, and exercises a combined system of unified administration and command at different levels.

The militia is the basis for the prosecution of a people's war under modern conditions. The General Staff Headquarters administers the building of the militia. Under the command of military organs, the militia in wartime helps the standing army in its military operations, conducts independent operations, and provides combat support and manpower replenishment for the standing army. In peacetime, it undertakes the tasks of performing combat readiness support, taking part in emergency rescue and disaster relief efforts, and maintaining social order. The work concerning the militia is conducted under the leadership of the State Council and the CMC.

The PLA currently has 2.3 million troops. In 1985, 1997 and 2003, China announced that it would cut the size of the PLA by 1 million, 500,000 and 200,000 persons, respectively. By the end of 2005, China had completed reducing the PLA by 200,000 troops.

The Army has 18 combined corps. There are three fleets under the Navy, namely, the Beihai Fleet, Donghai Fleet and Nanhai Fleet. The Air Force has commands in the country's seven military command areas of Shenyang, Beijing, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Chengdu. Under an air command are aviation divisions, ground-to-air missile divisions (brigades and regiments), antiaircraft artillery brigades (regiments), radar brigades (regiments) and other support troops. The Second Artillery Force organizes and commands China's strategic missiles, in which personnel with junior college education or above account for 82 percent. The Armed Police Force has 660,000 persons, among them more than 260,000 are on duty daily. The PLA has 68 military educational institutions. At present, 41 military educational institutions are authorized to award doctor's degrees and 60 to award master's degrees. At the same time, 112 regular institutions of higher learning in China undertake the task of training defense students, thus gradually increasing the number of military officers trained in civilian educational institutions.

Leaders of the Four General Departments of the PLA

Chief of the General Staff: Liang Guanglie
Director of the General Political Department: Li Jinai
Director of the General Logistics Department: Liao Xilong
Director of the General Armaments Department: Chen Bingde

Leaders of the Seven Military Command Areas

Shenyang: Commander Chang Wanquan, Political Commissar Jiang Futang 
Beijing: Commander Zhu Qi, Political Commissar Fu Tinggui
Lanzhou: Commander Li Qianyuan, Political Commissar Yu Linxiang
Jinan: Commander Fan Changlong, Political Commissar Liu Dongdong
Nanjing: Commander Zhu Wenquan, Political Commissar Lei Mingqiu
Guangzhou: Commander Liu Zhenwu, Political Commissar Yang Deqing
Chengdu: Commander Wang Jianmin, Political Commissar Liu Shutian

Leaders of Armed Services

Navy: Commander Wu Shengli, Political Commissar Hu Yanlin
Air Force: Commander Qiao Qingchen, Political Commissar Deng Changyou
Second Artillery Force: Commander Jing Zhiyuan, Political Commissar Peng Xiaofeng

Leaders of the Armed Police Force

Commander: Wu Shuangzhan
First Political Commissar: Zhou Yongkang
Political Commissar: Sui Mingtai

Military Academies

National Defense University: President Ma Xiaotian, Political Commissar: Zhao Keming
Academy of Military Science of the PLA: President Zheng Shenxia, Political Commissar: Liu Yuan
National University of Defense Technology: President Wen Xisen, Political Commissar: Huang Xianzhong

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