Archive for ‘People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’


Across China: Red Army Bridge given new lease of life


GUIYANG, July 14 (Xinhua) — A completion ceremony for a new “Red Army Bridge” was hosted this week amid a cheerful tutti of gongs and drums in a small village in Liping County of southwest China’s Guizhou Province.

Shangshaozhai Village, with hundreds of years of history, was once separated from the outside world by a raging river. The only way leading outward was by boat.

Everything changed however in December 1934, when the passing-by Red Army built a wooden bridge together with local villagers.

From October 1934 to October 1936, the Red Army, the forerunner of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), carried out a daring military maneuver that laid the foundation for the eventual victory of the Communist Party of China.

The Red Army marched through raging rivers, snowy mountains and arid grasslands to break the Kuomintang regime’s grip on the country and to continue their fight against Japanese invaders. Some of them marched as far as 12,500 km, enduring hunger, thirst and cold.

Wu Xiyan, 68, said his uncle was among the villagers who cooperated with the Red Army in building the bridge.

“They brought out all the available timber at home, and many of the villagers even volunteered to provide their bed and door boards,” said Wu. “The village truly needed a bridge.”

The bridge deck, one meter wide, is comprised of over 90 pieces of wooden boards. To commemorate the close relations between the Red Army and the local people, it was named “Red Army Bridge.”

Over 80 years on, the bridge remained the solitary channel for more than 600 villagers to exit and enter the village. Despite careful maintenance, it struggled to deal with the strain of local traffic.

Having learned the stories behind the bridge, in September 2017, Sinopec, a major Chinese state-owned enterprise, donated 1.8 million yuan (261,400 U.S. dollars) to build a new bridge for the village.

The new bridge, 4.5 meters wide, enables cars to drive across, with a weight capacity up to 20 tons.

Also named “Red Army Bridge,” the new bridge echoes its predecessor at a distance of 85 years and 50 meters.

The Red Army spirit is a treasure that the village has valued over all these years, said Wu, adding the village has done its best to preserve the old bridge over the years.

In 2012, a former Red Army member, over 90 years old, came to visit the bridge from eastern Zhejiang Province, Wu recalled.

He said the bridge looked exactly the same as what he saw in 1935, according to Wu.

“My uncle once told me the Red Army, passing by Shangshaozhai, promised that a better village would be built for us in the future,” Wu said.

“Over the course of my lifetime, I have been a constant witness to the fulfillment of this serious promise,” Wu said.

Source: Xinhua


China to send defence minister to Singapore security conference as tensions with US rise

  • Observers will be watching to see if General Wei Fenghe holds talks with his American counterpart
  • Forum comes as Beijing and Washington are at odds over issues ranging from security to trade
General Wei Fenghe will be the first Chinese defence minister to attend the Shangri-La Dialogue in eight years. Photo: Reuters
General Wei Fenghe will be the first Chinese defence minister to attend the Shangri-La Dialogue in eight years. Photo: Reuters
China is sending its defence minister to a leading Asian security forum next week, the first time in eight years that a high-ranking Chinese general will represent the country at the conference.
General Wei Fenghe, a State Councillor and China’s defence minister, will speak at the three-day Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, a gathering that comes as Beijing and Washington are at odds over issues ranging from security to trade.
“In a highly anticipated speech, General Wei Fenghe will speak on China’s role in the Indo-Pacific at a pivotal time for the region,” the International Institute for Strategic Studies, an organiser of the conference, said on Monday night.

Chinese military sources said that Wei would lead a “relatively big” delegation to the gathering, which starts on May 31 and is co-organised by the Singaporean government.

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The last time Beijing sent a high-ranking officer to the event was in 2011 when General Liang Guanglie, then the defence minister, attended.
Acting US secretary of defence Patrick Shanahan will also attend the conference and deliver a speech.
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Beijing-based military specialist Zhou Chenming said observers would be watching to see whether the two senior defence officials held talks.

“The whole world will keep a close eye on any possible encounters between the Chinese and the Americans … At least now China has shown its sincerity in sending Wei to attend the conference, who is of equal standing as Shanahan, if the latter is willing to hold talks with him in good faith,” Zhou said.

But he said a meeting between Wei and Shanahan would be difficult because of the current distance between Beijing and Washington on major issues.

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“It’s not realistic to expect they will make a breakthrough because both sides will just sound their own bugles. The … mistrust between China and the US is actually growing every day,” Zhou said.

Just on Sunday, the USS Preble, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Scarborough Shoal, an area in the South China Sea claimed by both China and the Philippines.


Chinese foreign ministry responded on Monday

by strongly urging “the US to stop such provocative actions” and saying it would “take all necessary measures” to protect its “national sovereignty”.

Military analysts said the size of the Chinese delegation at the conference would underscore the importance of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) attached to the event this year.
One military insider said the delegation would also include Lieutenant General He Lei, former vice-president of the Academy of Military Science, who headed China’s delegation in 2017 and 2018; and Senior Colonel Zhou Bo, director of the defence ministry’s Centre for Security Cooperation. In addition, the PLA would send a number of Chinese academics to speak at various sessions of the forum.
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Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will deliver a keynote speech on the opening day of the annual dialogue.

Japan and South Korea are also sending their defence ministers, according to a report by The Korean Times on Tuesday. The report also said South Korean Defence Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo was keen to hold one-on-one meetings with his Chinese and Japanese counterparts on the sidelines of the conference.

Source: SCMP


China Focus: China honors amputee demining soldier

BEIJING, May 22 (Xinhua) — Du Fuguo, a soldier who lost his eyes and arms in an explosion during a mine clearance operation, was honored by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on Wednesday.

Du, who was a demining soldier of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), was awarded the title “role model of our times” at a ceremony in Beijing.

Du’s family members and fellow soldiers, as well as representatives from all walks of life, attended the award ceremony.

The 28-year-old soldier was seriously injured in the landmine explosion trying to protect his fellow soldier during the operation in southwest China’s Yunnan Province in October last year.

Du would have finished his military service in December 2018, just two months after the explosion.

In 2015, Du and over 400 fellow soldiers started clearing mines in the border area in Yunnan, where over 100 minefields were located.

“I couldn’t stay calm after getting to know the villagers living in the area suffered three explosions within 10 years,” said Du, who volunteered to participate in the demining operations in 2015.

Du’s father wished to become a solider at an early age, which was not fulfilled, while Du Fuguo joined the PLA in 2010.

“I am reflecting what kind of life is truly meaningful and valuable, and the only standard is what has been done for the country and for the people,” Du wrote in his application submitted for mine clearance operations.

“When the people are in need and the country is calling upon us, there is not even half a step that I can retreat,” he responded when being told mine clearance was dangerous.

A minefield Du worked has deterred local people from growing crops and picking tea. They beat gongs and sounded drums to welcome the arrival of the mine clearance group.

Over the past three years, Du has entered minefields over 1,000 times, defusing more than 2,400 mines and bombs.

“I feel like it is my destiny to carry out this mission and there was a voice calling me to clear the mines,” he wrote in his application.

While various equipment has been developed for mine clearance, it is believed that manual demining remains the most efficient method, albeit the most dangerous.

The explosion happened in an afternoon when Du and a fellow soldier tried to defuse a bomb, but it suddenly exploded and Du quickly protected his colleague who was left with only bruises.

“Step back and I’ll do the job,” Du said before he started the defusing work in which he lost his forearms and eyes.

One month later, in November last year, Du’s team members confirmed that the minefield where the explosion took place was safe to be used as farmland, meaning that the three-year demining operation had finished.

In the area where Du was injured, people have named tea picked this year as “Fuguo.” They are hoping that Du could come back to have a taste of his eponymous tea.

“Despite my lost hands, I have legs to continue chasing after dreams; despite my lost sight, as long as the sun can rise in my heart, my world remains blazing with color,” Du said.

Source: Xinhua


Xi stresses timely completion of military development goals


Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, meets with deputies from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and armed police before attending a plenary meeting of the delegation of the PLA and armed police at the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing, capital of China, March 12, 2019. Xi delivered an important speech at the meeting on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhua) — President Xi Jinping on Tuesday stressed fulfilling the set targets and tasks of national defense and military development as scheduled.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks when attending a plenary meeting of the delegation of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and armed police force at the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress, China’s national legislature.

This year is the key year for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

The entire armed forces must clearly understand the importance and urgency of implementing the 13th Five-Year Plan for military development, firm up their resolve, intensify the sense of mission, forge ahead with a pioneering spirit, and go all out to carry out the plan so as to ensure that the set targets and tasks are fulfilled as scheduled, he said.

Xi called on the whole army to adhere to the guidance of the thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, fully implement the Party’s thinking on strengthening the military for the new era and the military strategy for new conditions, concentrate on war preparedness, and intensify reform and innovation.

On implementation of the plan, Xi stressed that it is imperative to strengthen overall planning and coordination, as well as make breakthroughs in key areas.

Xi pointed out that it is necessary to take into consideration the overall situation and coordinate the task plans, resources, and management procedures to ensure orderly advancement of various projects.

Focusing on the overall layout of the plan, the military should give prominence to key projects including urgent necessities for military preparedness, crucial support for combat systems, and coordinated projects for the reform of national defense and armed forces, he noted.

Xi stressed the formulation of the 14th Five-Year Plan for military development should serve the demands of the national development, security and military strategies, and should take into account both the actual condition and long-term development needs.

Source: Xinhua

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