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The Components of the Armed Forces
Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the people’s army has gradually grown to include the active and reserve forces of the People’s Liberation Army, Chinese People’s Armed Police Forces and the Militia.

1. The active and reserve forces of the People’s Liberation Army

The People’s Liberation Army consists of officers and men in active service and in reserve. The active forces are made up of the Army, Navy, Air Force, 2nd Artillery Corps, military schools and national defense scientific research institutions.

The Army, organized according to different tasks and equipment, mainly includes the infantry, armored corps, artillery corps, engineering corps, communication corps, and anti-chemical warfare corps. In its setup, the Army follows the organizational system of the squad, platoon, company, battalion, regiment, division (brigade) and army (group army).

The Navy is organized into fleets, naval bases and marine defense regions. The People’s Navy is made up of the East China Sea Fleet, the South China Sea Fleet and the North China Sea Fleet. The naval bases are usually under the command of the fleets and they in turn consist of marine defense regions and vessel forces. In terms of equipment and war operational responsibilities, the Navy consists of the vessel forces, submarine forces, naval air forces, naval coastal defense forces and the marine forces.

The Air Force is made up of air teams, regiments (air ports and air stations), divisions, and regional air forces (air armies). In terms of equipment and war operational responsibilities, the Air Force mainly consists of air units, anti-aircraft units, surface-to-air missile units, paratroops and radar units.

The 2nd Artillery Corps, also known as the Strategic Missile Corps, is an army equipped with surface-to-surface strategic missile system to carry out tasks of strategic anti-nuclear strikes. It is under the direct command of the CMC.

Military schools, in accordance with administrative subordination relationships and specialties of education and scientific research they undertake, are divided into those under the CMC, headquarters of different branches of the armed forces, area military commands, and various services and arms of the military.

National defense scientific research institutions include various research institutes and scientific research experiment bases which carry out the study of sciences and technologies for national defense.

The reserve service of the armed forces was organized in 1983 with officers and men in the active service as the backbone and those in the reserve service as the basic elements. It is organized in such a way as to quickly mobilize and turn into active forces during war. Its regiments and divisions are listed in the setup of the armed forces and conferred with designations and flags. In peaceful time, the reserve service is under provincial military regional commands while in times of war will be placed under the command of the designated active service of the military.

2. The Chinese People’s Armed Police Force

As part of the armed forces of the People’s Republic of China, the Armed Police Force was organized according to a decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China adopted in June 1982. Its headquarters were set up in Beijing in April 1983. The Armed Police Force 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 Armed Police Force implements the Military Service Law of the People’s Republic of China and the orders and regulations of the People’s Liberation Army. It enjoys the same political status as the People’s Liberation Army. The primary mission of the Armed Police Force is to safeguard state sovereignty and dignity, maintain social order and security, 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 follows a three-level leadership in organizational setup of branch teams, brigades and headquarters. Made up mainly of civil defense units, it also includes the units administered by the public security departments such as the border units, fire brigades and garrison units as well as units jointly administered by various departments of the State Council and the Armed Police Force such as the water and electricity units, traffic units, gold mine units and forestry units.

3. The Militia

The Militia, a mass force engaged in daily production under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, is a component part of the armed forces of the People’s Republic of China. Under the command of the military organs, the Militia undertakes such jobs as war preparation services, security and defense operation tasks and assistance in maintaining social order and public security.

(China.org.cn May 20, 2003)

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