Strive to Build Up a Solid National Defense Capability and Powerful Army in the Interest of National Security and Development

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-19 23:34
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    The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is an army of the people founded and led by the Communist Party of China. Through a 22-year bitter and bloody battle, the army has made indelible historical contributions to national independence, liberation of the people and the founding of New China under the leadership of the Party. China has traversed a glorious course in building up its national defense and the army and made historic achievements over the 60 years following the founding of New China during the great process of national development and reform under the three previous generations of central collective leadership of the CPC with Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin respectively at the core and under the leadership of CPC Central Committee with Hu Jintao as the General Secretary. Efforts to revolutionize, modernize and standardize our army have transformed the PLA from a single-service military force into a strong and fairly modern army composed of different services and arms that is now moving toward greater application of IT. It has made important contributions to the security of the motherland, to making the country prosperous and strong and to the well-being of the people.    

    One, the PLA has faithfully performed its fundamental function of safeguarding the motherland and defending the peaceful production activities of the people. Our army has made great contributions to consolidating the new born political power of the people and defending the independence, sovereignty and dignity of our country. By conscientiously making preparations for military struggle, our army is able to present an effective deterrent and attack force for combating all kinds of separatist and disruptive activities that could endanger security and unification of the country. After our government resumed exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macao, our army followed government orders to enter and station in Hong Kong and Macao to carry out their national defense duties in accordance with the law. Many officers and men are garrisoned in high mountains, islands in the sea, snow-covered areas and the Gobi Desert for years enduring the hardship of harsh environments from bone-chilling winters to sweltering summers with insufficient water and oxygen in order to defend more than twenty thousand kilometers of China’s national borders and the vast coastal areas and territorial seas of the motherland with their youth and warm blood.    

    Two, the PLA has always retained the character, purpose and true qualities of a people’s army. Regardless of any changes in the conditions of the times or the domestic or international environment, our army has always adhered to the fundamental principle and the system of the Party exercising absolute leadership over the army, maintained the position of political work as the lifeline of the army, applied the scientific theories of the CPC to arm its officers and enlisted personnel, and resolutely implemented the line, principles and policies of the CPC. It has always worked to improve the Party organizations in the army, improve the overall quality of army cadres, and ensure that the Party maintains a firm grip on the army ideologically, politically and organizationally.    

    Three, the PLA has improved its ability to engage in combat in defense of the country under modern military conditions. It has always placed great emphasis on education and training, continuously worked to improve the structure and composition of the army, developed creative military theories and accelerated the pace of efforts to establish an operational system capable of winning modern wars. 

    The ability of the army to carry out combined operations has been continuously improved and its approach has been moving gradually from one of a regional defense force to a whole-region mobile force. The navy has been developed into a comprehensive military service with strong offshore defense capabilities and developed certain techniques for fighting in distant seas. The air force is being rapidly transformed from a force for aerial defense of the home territory into a force for both land and air defense with both offensive and defensive capabilities. The Second Artillery Corps has become a crack strategic force capable of effectively using both nuclear and conventional weapons. The ability of our army to carry out joint operations has continuously been strengthened. All aspects of the ability of the armed police force to fight terrorism, maintain stability and handle emergencies have been improved. The PLA has made giant strides in national defense research and in developing weapons and equipment, resulting in the development of a science and technology system for national defense and the defense industry, basically completed formation of a system of new types of battle equipment, IT equipment and support equipment that ensures coordinated development of all aspects of the system, and successful completion of a number of major scientific research experiments including manned space flight. Logistics improvement and reform efforts have gradually been deepened and the army’s overall support capacity been remarkably improved. A system of institutions of higher learning in line with the special characteristics of the army has taken shape to train large numbers of outstanding military personnel. The proportion of army cadres with degree or certificate from an institution of higher learning has now reached 61%.  

    A large meeting was held for people from all sectors of society in the capital Beijing to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Here the troops in full military dress are ready for being reviewed. / Photo by Xinhua reporter Li Mingfang

    Four, the PLA has considerably raised its level of standardization. It has always attached great importance to improving regulations, rules, laws and systems, particularly since the reform and opening up policy was implemented. There are over ten military laws, more than 300 military rules and more than 3,000 military regulations based on the Law of the People's Republic of China on National Defense. These comprise a comprehensive system of military laws and regulations, laying a solid foundation for ensuring that the army is run strictly and in accordance with the law, maintaining good order in the troops during regular preparations for war, training, work and daily life and ensuring a high degree of stability, centralization and unity in the army. 

    Five, the PLA has actively worked to improve the national defense mobilization system and reserve forces. It follows an approach of mobilizing the entire society in fighting a war, adheres to a policy of combining peacetime and wartime preparations and military-civilian integration, and has developed a sound national mobilization system and mechanism. The PLA continuously works to improve the infrastructure for mobilization of the national economy, civilian air defense, wartime transportation and national defense, and the degree of military-civilian integration and ability to shift from peacetime to wartime operations have steadily improved. The PLA has improved the distribution and structure of the national defense reserve forces and its ability to rapidly mobilize and deploy the militia and reserve forces. It has carried out national defense education to popularize the idea that national defense is responsibility of all Chinese citizens and create a social environment that strongly encourages all members of society to care about, cherish, improve and defend national defense.  

    Six, the PLA has increased the depth and breadth of foreign military exchange and cooperation. It has worked for the overall interests of the country’s political and foreign affairs, promoted modernization of the army and conducted military exchanges with more than 150 countries, forming a multi-directional, multilevel and multi-field pattern of military relations. It has conducted joint exercises and training operations with the armed forces of more than 20 countries and actively participated in international activities such as peacekeeping operations for the United Nations, international antiterrorist activities and international humanitarian rescue activities. The PLA sent more than 12,700 officers and enlisted personnel to participate in 18 United Nations peacekeeping activities, and organized a formation of naval vessels to send to the Gulf of Aden and the seas around Somalia to protect convoys. The PLA projected a fine image of a mighty force, a civilized force and a force for peace, and one that has played an important role in safeguarding world peace.  

    Seven, the PLA has vigorously supported national economic and social development. Shortly after the founding of New China, the army released more than a million officers and enlisted personnel from 35 divisions to take part in production and development activities in the border regions, forming an important force for strengthening the country and stabilizing the border areas. In the 60 years since the founding of New China, the army has contributed nearly 500 million work days and more than 30 million pieces of machinery and vehicles to take part in a large number of key engineering projects in the fields of industry, transportation, water power and telecommunications, made many military installations and sites available for civilian use, making major contributions to the national economic development.


    The great experience of developing our national defense capability and army since the founding of New China has continuously deepened our understanding of the characteristics and laws governing efforts to develop and administer the army and allowed us to learn valuable lessons in carrying out scientific development of our national defense capability and army.  

    One, we must always take the military theories of the Communist Party of China as a scientific guide for improving our national defense capability and army. During the historical course of adapting Marxism to conditions in China over the past 60 years, the Communist Party of China has also continuously worked to adapt Marxist military theories to conditions in China, promoted innovation and development in the Party’s military theories and provided a strong ideological weapon and scientific guide for the development of national defense and the army. In addition to guiding us in developing a new type of people’s army of the proletariat, carrying out a people’s war and winning nationwide victory, the military thinking of Mao Zedong also guided us in correctly solving major issues in the modernization of national defense after the communists obtained nationwide political power. Deng Xiaoping’s thinking on developing the army in the new period has guided us in correctly working out a path with Chinese characteristics for streamlining the military and developing it into a strong, modern, standardized revolutionary army under the historical conditions in which peace and development have become the major themes in the world today and China has implemented its reform and opening up policy. Jiang Zemin’s thinking on national defense and army improvement has guided us in correctly finding the path for carrying out military transformation with Chinese characteristics to ensure that the people’s army will be able to win in battle and never become degraded due to the current wave of change taking place in the military forces of the world and China’s emerging socialist market economy. President Hu Jintao’s important statements on national defense and army improvement under the current conditions give an answer to the important question of how to promote scientific development of national defense and the army to ensure the army is able to successfully perform all its historical missions in this new period of the new century as profound changes have taken place in the strategic situation of the world and China is building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Experience has shown that all the achievements and progress made in national defense and army improvement are a result of the correct guidance of the Party’s military theories.  

    Two, we must always adhere to the fundamental principle, which requires that the Communist Party of China must exercise absolute leadership over the army, and keep in mind the fundamental purpose of the people’s army. Over the past 60 years, our army has resolutely followed the commands of the CPC Central Committee and the Central Military Commission, resolutely fulfilled all tasks entrusted to it by the Party and stood as core force for consolidating the position of the Party as the party in power. The army has faithfully fulfilled its fundamental purpose of wholeheartedly serving the people by putting the interests of the people above all else and regarding them as more important than anything else, sharing their fate and concerns, and always preserving its true political colors as the people’s army and always acting as a loyal defender of the interests of the people.  

    Three, we must always bear in mind national security interests and the general strategy for development in carrying out improvements in national defense and the army. A strategic principle of active defense was followed in the 1950s in line with the socialist nature of our country and the security situation. In the 1980s, a strategic change was made in the guiding ideology for improving national defense capability and the army to adapt to a change in the central task of the Party and government. In the 1990s, the strategic concept of a “three–step approach” to modernization of national defense and the army was developed in accordance with the development strategy of the state for modernization. In this new period of the new century the army has been called on to provide a strong military power for consolidating the position of the Party as the party in power, provide a guarantee of national security so the country can take advantage of strategic opportunities for development, provide powerful strategic support for the safeguarding of national interests and give full play to its role in safeguarding world peace and promoting development for all. This is the historical mission for this new period of the new century that the army must focus on to meet the requirements for recent developments in national interests and recent changes in the national security situation.  

    Four, we must adhere to a principle of combining the processes of revolutionizing, modernizing and standardizing the army in order to make overall improvement in the army. During the past 60 years, we have always viewed these three processes as an organic whole that must be carried out simultaneously. Experience has shown that only by following this principle can we closely coordinate efforts in military affairs, political affairs, logistics and equipment improvement so that we can make coordinated, sustainable progress in all areas of army development.  

    Five, we must always view improvement in the fighting capacity of the army as the starting and ending point in army improvement efforts. Over the past 60 years, our army has always put improvement of the fighting capacity of the army at the center of all development efforts and viewed fighting capacity as the fundamental criteria for judging the effectiveness of all efforts. The PLA has consistently viewed the use of military training as the fundamental way to strengthen the fighting capacity of the army. In the 1950s, the army provided military training to the troops aimed at regularization. In the 1960s, the army organized large-scale troop training sessions and military competitions. In the 1980s, the army improved training combining all services and arms of the PLA. In the 1990s, the army instituted training in new technologies and equipment. Since the beginning of the new century, the army has been concentrating on joint operations training and training in a complex electromagnetic environment. The PLA has always relied on scientific and technological advances to strengthen its fighting capacity, develop advanced weapons and equipment, optimize the fighting system, strengthen logistics and equipment capabilities and transform the model for generating fighting capacity. It has always given full play to the decisive role of people in strengthening its fighting capacity and devoted a great deal of energy to cultivating a fighting spirit among the troops and improving the quality of officers and enlisted personnel so that our army can always maintain a strong fighting capacity. 

    Six, we must always view reform and innovation as a strong force driving improvement and development of the army. Over the past 60 years, particularly since the implementation of the reform and opening up policy, we have always worked to free our minds and update our ideas on the basis of drawing upon and carrying forward the fine traditions of our Party and our army and gradually revised our beliefs and approaches for improving the army away from the planned economy to suit the emerging socialist market economy and away from mechanized and semi-mechanized wars to meet the requirements for local wars in the information age. The PLA has actively promoted innovation in military theories, skills, organization and management as it continually worked to improve the scale and structure of the army and optimize policies and systems, resulting in a constant strengthening in its deterrent and fighting capacities. 

    Seven, we must always rely on the people in improving the army and national defense. Over the past 60 years, we have always followed a principle of involving all the people of the country in national defense by setting up an effective national defense mobilization system and a strong national defense reserve force. The strength of our national defense has been greatly increased. All levels of Party committees and governments and the people of the country have strongly supported the army’s military training for war, the development of national defense science and technology and weapons and equipment, national defense infrastructure development and the development of the reserve forces and provided the most solid source of strength possible for improving the country’s national defense capabilities and the army.


    China is now at a new historical starting point in development, and our efforts to improve national defense and the army have entered a new phase of development which will require completing a number of arduous tasks. We need to focus on fully carrying out our historical mission for this new period of the new century and put more emphasis on scientific development in improving our national defense capabilities and the army in line with the strategic measures defined at the Seventeenth CPC National Congress on developing national defense and the army so the army can provide a strong security guarantee for the effort to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects.  

    We need to improve ideological and political work in light of current conditions in order to ensure that our army will always be a people’s army under the absolute leadership of the Party, that national defense and the army are developed scientifically and that our army will effectively carry out its historical mission for this new period of the new century. We need to clearly understand the current ideological and political situation and strengthen efforts to make ideological and political work more effective in order to meet these three conditions. We need to ceaselessly work to arm the whole army with the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and energetically work to instill in army personnel the core values of a contemporary revolutionary soldier, a soldier who is loyal to the Party, loves the people, serves the motherland with honor, is dedicated to the mission and values his reputation.”  

    We need to continuously raise our ability to carry out multiple military tasks, concentrating on improving the ability to win local wars where there is extensive use of information technology, in order to effectively carry out our historical mission. We need to fully understand recent developments and changes in the national security situation and continue to increase the depth and breadth of military preparedness. While focusing on strengthening the core military capability to win a local war where there is extensive use of information technology, we also need to improve our ability to carry out other types of military action as well in order to raise the army’s capabilities to respond to multiple security threats and carry out multiple military tasks. We need to work harder on developing and improving military training by developing training for combat where there is extensive use of information technology, do much more to instill a fighting spirit in soldiers and revise the model for generating fighting capacity to rely more on advances in science and technology, especially in the area of high and new technologies with information technology as the benchmark to ensure that our army will be able to deal with crises, safeguard peace, and successfully deter and win wars under all kinds of complicated conditions.  

    We need to speed up the process of military transformation with Chinese characteristics, focusing on meeting the new requirements for carrying out our tasks under current conditions. We need to actively work to adapt to recent trends in global military development by continuing to follow the strategy of strengthening the army through the application of science and technology and carry out a combination of mechanization and IT application to meet the strategic objective of developing an army with extensive application of IT able to win a war where there is extensive use of IT. We need to speed up modernization of our weapons and equipment, continuously strengthen our ability to make independent innovations through national defense research and gradually form a system of weapons and equipment that makes extensive use of IT. We need to build a modern comprehensive logistics system and constantly strengthen our logistic support. We need to speed up implementation of the strategic project to train skilled personnel to produce large numbers of the new type of highly qualified military personnel. We need to ensure the thriving development of military science and make innovations in strategies and tactics for fighting people’s wars. We need to deepen adjustments and reforms of the structure and staffing as well as the policy system of the army to gradually form a scientific organizational model, a framework of institutions and ways of operation with Chinese characteristics that also conform to the general laws for developing a modern army.  

    We need to do more to ensure the army is run strictly and in accordance with the law in order to maintain a high degree of stability, centralization and unity. We need to step up military legislation work to improve the system of military laws and regulations. We must always enforce strict political requirements, conduct strict military training, carry out strict management and education, enforce strict discipline, strictly carry out orders and regulations and strictly practice the work responsibility system to ensure that military and government orders are smoothly implemented and ensure the security and stability of the troops. We need to carefully study the characteristics and general laws for developing and running an army under the current historical conditions, make management more scientific and continuously raise the level of standardization of the army. We need to do more to develop lower level army units, always put people first and promote overall improvement in the quality of officers and enlisted personnel. 

 In combining efforts to make the country prosperous with efforts to strengthen the army, we must work to keep national defense improvement in line with economic development. We need to follow a guiding principle of keeping national defense improvement in line with economic development and more closely integrate efforts to improve national defense and the army with economic and social development while staying in conformity with the general plan for building socialism with Chinese characteristics. We need to further develop and improve the system for developing and producing weapons and equipment that meets both peacetime and wartime requirements and has both military and civilian uses, the system for producing qualified army personnel and the system of army support services while following a development path of military-civilian integration with Chinese characteristics. We need to further improve the national defense mobilization system to continuously raise the quality of the reserve forces. We must always keep in mind the purpose of the people’s army, give full play to the strengths of the army, actively participate in and support national economic development, work to create a harmonious socialist society, resolutely complete urgent, difficult, dangerous and heavy tasks involved in rescue and relief work and continuously work to consolidate and develop the unity between the army and the government and between the army and the people.

(From Qiushi in Chinese No.15 2009)

Note:Author: Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and vice-chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission

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