Beijing reveals the secret locations of China’s armies

Chinese ArmiesSince 1949, the People’s Republic of China has made a big secret about their PLA military units. Now the Chinese leadership reveals exact details – in the middle of the escalating island dispute with Japan.

Neither the state security nor the counter intelligence intervened. For the first time since 1949, The Beijing newspaper “Beijing Wanbao” was allowed to reveal uncensored where China’s 2.3 million soldiers are stationed. It printed a map showing the names of all 18 locations and the number codes of all 18 armies.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic, such statements fell under state secrets. Newspapers had to write “Army unit XX.” During the Korean War in 1952, the People’s Liberation Army numbered five million soldiers in 70 army organisations. It remained secret during the early eighties, when only 36 army sites were left.

Then reform architect Deng Xiaoping cut the forces to their present 2.3 million soldiers in 18 armies. Before now, their military names or codes were not being publicly named.

Where the troops arrived in 1989?

During the bloody massacre of 4 June 1989, observers were puzzled about where the troops arrived from. Today it is officially: Responsible for the direct protection of the Chinese capital were, and are, the 27th Army (Shijiazhuang City), the 38th Army (Baoding City) and the 65th Army (Zhangiiakou).

The defence researcher Li Daguang said  in a Cantonese Newspaper: “We live in the information age. Locations and secret codes have only small value.”

The hiding game is over

The revelations tell us more about the new consciousness of the army as to their transparency. The military no longer hide behind the “XX”.

This also applies to their weapons systems: In 2012, photos of prototypes of the new stealth bomber and the first aircraft carrier “Liaoning” have been published. TV stations showed how J-10 fighter jets landed on the Lioaning.

Beijing also presented the Beidou satellite navigation system; the Chinese Army and Navy are no longer dependent on the GPS system developed by the U.S. Step by step, China is changing its defensive military doctrine to offensive. The original concept of the people’s army has retired.

China is fuelling the arms race

Xu Qiliang, Vice chairman of the Central Military Commission and Politburo member, said, that the PLA must form and train “elite organisations to protect, if it becomes necessary, the territorial integrity, sovereignty and security of the state.”

The armed forces would be able to lead and to win wars, according to the army newspaper “Jiefangjunbao.” Against the background of it’s dispute with all its neighbours in the East and South China Sea, China is fuelling the arms race in the region.

Even more, the conflict is not just about territorial claims of the islands and seas, but also about the economic interests of the fishing grounds and suspected undersea resources.

The threat comes from the sea

Beijing’s military speak volumes. The security of the country was “threatened from the sea,” said Navy Captain Mei Wen, the political commissar of the aircraft carrier “Liaoning” in service since 2012, according to the official army website “China Military Online.”

China claims it has always been provoked – in early 2012 by the Philippines about the Huangyan Islands, and later by Vietnam about the Xisha and Nansha Islands (Paracel and Spratly Islands).  “In this grim situation the marine forces need combat power to protect national and overseas rights and interests,” said Mei Wen.

Money seems to be no problem. Over the past 15 years, the defence budget increased faster than the gross national product. Next March the People’s Congress will pass a new budget for 2013. Few doubt that it will be double-digit growth.

The Army is developing fast

Technologically, China’s armed forces were many years behind. Now they’re catching up. New equipment and the fighting strength of the air units had “developed rapidly,” wrote the Army newspaper. The army is now forced to learn to deal with it, decided the General Staff.

From the Air Force the General Staff demanded to train combat missions with modern helicopter gunships WZ-10 and WZ-19. This training was part of a “strategic turning point.” The helicopter units are no longer for “logistical support” only, but are to be trained to “fly combat missions.” The training also includes offshore operations, training flights over long distances and coordinated actions.

Founded in 2002 under the umbrella of the Department of Defence, the Office of Defence Education required that all schools educate their students more in resilience.

The theme of national defence should be weighted more heavily in the curriculum. The “national security” and “protection of its maritime rights and interests” should be a focus for 2013, writes the army newspaper.

Muscle-flexing in the East China Sea

On one side, the Beijing Evening Gazette analyses – entirely theoretically – Beijing’s military forces, on the other side China’s leadership demonstrates its strength very clearly in the dispute with Japan over the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. So far, the two opponents were lucky that there were no accidental military incidents, although the transport of their patrol boats in the sea and fighter planes in the air increased alarmingly.

In the South China Sea, too, Beijing’s presence is visible everywhere. The Chinese Marine Office revealed that in 2012 its surveillance ships were sent on patrol 58 times. Beijing provoked the littoral neighbour states as it founded the first Chinese administrative town in the sea on the Chinese controlled island of China Sansha, part of the Xisha Islands (Paracel Islands).

From here its claim to sovereignty over the sea area will be enforced. The Philippines fight back now, through the UN. The government brought the island dispute before the Arbitration Committee of the United Nations. Beijing warned Manila before this step.

Cautious overtures

Meanwhile, China and Japan are trying to unblock the voltage. Japanese Natsuo Yamaguchi travelled to Beijing with a letter from Abe in his luggage.

Since Yamaguchi is not part of the Japanese government team, he could play the role of mediator. Beijing took to the ball. To everyone’s surprise China’s Party chief Xi Jinping welcomed him and the Japanese emissary had a counter message to his PM.

Both countries should strive to discuss the “tough questions”, “prompt and effective”, to make a common effort controlling and satisfactorily solving the problems through “dialogue and consultation.”

Categories: Defence & Aerospace

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5 replies

  1. Reblogged this on CHINDIA ALERT: Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger and commented:
    I wonder if the map is complete. It seems to indicate there are no major military units to the West of 100 degrees East, namely none in Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinhai and Gansu; nor any in the far northt, namely none in Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang. Some Muslims in Xinjiang and Tibetans in Tibet, Qinhai and Gansu have been known to be anti-central government. And, in the past, there have been confrontations with Russian army units up north.



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