People’s Liberation Army and PLA Day- memory and hope of a Bangladeshi

Lt Col Md Shahadat Hossain (Retd)

Lt Col Md Shahadat Hossain (Retd)

August the first is one of the governmental holidays in China to celebrate her People’s Liberation Army Day, in short PLA or Army Day. The day is set aside to commemorate the contribution that the PLA has made to China both in the past and in the present days. Chinese leaders and public figures go to veterans’ homes to show their great concern for them, and get-togethers are held for the soldiers on this day. In some places, soldiers and their dependents are rewarded with the opportunity to visit tourist attractions for free while some are also presented with beneficial books to mark the occasion.

According to Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia, “China has a long military tradition, dating back to the earliest days of recorded history. The martial exploits of kings and emperors, loyal generals and peasant rebels, and strategists and theorists are well known in Chinese high culture and folk tradition. Throughout the centuries, two tendencies have influenced the role of the military in national life, one in peacetime and the other in times of upheaval. In times of peace and stability, military forces were firmly subordinated to civilian control. The military was strong enough to overcome domestic rebellions and foreign invasion, yet it did not threaten civilian control of the political system. In the past 150 years, a third factor entered the Chinese military tradition—the introduction of modern military technology and organization to strengthen military capabilities against domestic and foreign enemies. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, all three tendencies have been discernible in the role of the military in national life. These factors have been particularly apparent in the role of the People’s Liberation Army in the rise to power of the Chinese Communist Party, in the military’s role in the politics of the People’s Republic of China, and in the efforts of Chinese leaders to modernize the armed forces”.

The PLA, initially established on 1st August 1927 through Nanchang Uprising of the communists against the Nationalists, is now the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People’s Republic of China. It is one of the largest military forces in the world. Again PLA, initially called the Red Army, grew under Mao Zedong and Zhu De from 5,000 troops in 1929 to 200,000 in 1933. Only a fraction of this force survived the Long March in retreat from the Nationalists. After rebuilding its strength, a large portion of it, the Eighth Route Army, fought with the Nationalists against the Japanese in northern China. After World War II, the communist forces, that is the renamed People’s Liberation Army, defeated the Nationalists and formed The People’s Republic of China in 1949 which has already emerged as today’s mighty economic super power in the world within so short time.

PLA is a people’s army created and led by the Communist Party of China (CPC), and the principal body of China’s armed forces. The PLA is made up of both active and reserve components. Its total force is maintained below the 2,500,000. The active components of the PLA are the country’s standing army, consisting of the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Second Artillery Force, whose main task is to conduct operations of defense, and, if necessary, help to maintain social order in accordance with the law. 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.

The Navy of the PLA was established on April 23, 1949. Its primary missions are, independently or jointly with the Army and Air Force, to guard against enemy invasion from the sea, defend the state’s sovereignty over its territorial waters, and safeguard the state’s maritime rights and interests. The Air Force of the PLA was established on November 11, 1949. Its primary missions are organizing homeland air defense to protect the territorial air, and providing air security for key facilities; organizing relatively independent air offensive operations; independently or jointly with the Army, the Navy or the Second Artillery Force, engaging in joint operations against enemy invasion from the air, or in conducting air strikes against the enemy. Adopting a system of combining aviation with ground-to-air defense forces, the Air Force consists of the aviation, surface-to-air missile, anti-aircraft artillery and airborne units, as well as communications, radar, ECM, chemical defense, technical reconnaissance and other specialized units. The Air Force has an air command in each of the seven military areas of Shenyang, Beijing, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Chengdu.

The Second Artillery Force of the PLA was established on July 1, 1966. It is composed of the ground-to-ground strategic nuclear missile force, the conventional operational-tactical missile force, and the support units. The strategic nuclear missile force, under the direct command of the CMC, constitutes the main part of China’s limited nuclear counterattack capability. It is equipped with land-based strategic nuclear missile systems. Its primary missions are to deter the enemy from using nuclear weapons against China, and, in the case of a nuclear attack by the enemy, to launch an effective counterattack in self-defense independently or jointly with the strategic nuclear forces of other services, at the order of the supreme command. The conventional operational-tactical missile force is equipped with conventional operational and tactical missile systems. Its task is to carry out fire assaults with conventional missiles.

The PLA’s reserve force, established in 1983, is a force with its own preset organizational structure, with reserve personnel as the base and active personnel as the backbone. The reserve force operates a unified organizational system. The divisions, brigades and regiments of the reserve force are conferred designations and military banners. The reserve force implements orders and regulations of the PLA, and is incorporated into the PLA’s order of battle. In peacetime, it is led by the provincial military districts or garrison commands, and in wartime, after mobilization, it is commanded by the designated active unit or carries out combat missions independently. It receives military training in peacetime in accordance with the 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 PLA forces stationed in Hong Kong and Macao are under the direct leadership of the CMC. The PLA Hong Kong Garrison is mainly composed of ground, naval and air units. The PLA Macao Garrison is mainly composed of a ground force, with some naval and air force personnel on its staff.

Photo: Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie (4th L) and other generals attend a reception hosted by the Ministry of National Defence of the People’s Republic of China, to mark the 84th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, in Beijing, capital of China, July 31, 2011. (Xinhua/Wang Jianmin).

To commemorate this year’s PLA day, that is to mark the 84th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie delivered a speech on July 31, 2011, at a reception hosted by the Ministry of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China, in Beijing, the capital of China. Guests from home and abroad attend a reception hosted by the Ministry of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China. In his speech he expressed that China will steadily reform national defense and the army and constantly modernize the military forces, quoted by Xinhua news agency. He also said “In the world today, peace, development and cooperation remains the trend of the times. However, world peace and development faces multiple challenges. China is going through unprecedented and extensive social changes,” Mr. Liang also said the army faces more arduous and heavier tasks and should stay alert to challenges. He called for enhancing the capability to accomplish diversified military tasks, with the capability to win local wars under the changing conditions. “We will expand and deepen preparedness for military struggle, vigorously carry out military training, promote independent innovation in defense science and equipment development,” said Liang. He also called for accelerating the building of modern logistics, intensifying the training of high-caliber and new-type military personnel, actively and steadily carrying out defense and military reforms and constantly modernizing the PLA. Mr. Liang, also a member of China’ Central Military Commission and a state councilor, said the army will continue to oppose and deter the secessionist activities for “Taiwan independence” to make due contributions to the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and China’s complete reunification. He also pledged working for long-lasting peace and common prosperity of the world. “(We will) continue to follow the independent foreign policy of peace, deepen friendly exchanges and cooperation with the armed forces of other countries and contribute to building a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity.” Over the past 84 years, the PLA has made outstanding contributions to safeguarding the nation’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity as well as advancing China’s economic and social development, said Liang.

In the recent past, Chinese President Hu Jintao also expressed at a meeting of PLA deputies to the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, that the armed forces to provide solid security guarantee for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the armed police should constantly improve their capabilities of comprehensively performing their missions in new century and new stage, The armed forces should speed up their efforts in pushing forward the modernization of national defense and the army, so as to resolutely safeguard state sovereignty, security and development interests, said Mr. Hu. The armed forces should unswervingly obey the Party’s command, said Hu, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission. Mr. Hu also urged the armed forces to actively participate in economic, social and ecological construction, support the transformation of economic development pattern, and shoulder emergency response tasks such as disaster relief.

Bangladesh and China established diplomatic relations on October 4, 1975 and since then Bangladesh Army also started cooperation with PLA. Many Bangladeshi defense personnel were trained in PLA. Besides, most of the equipments of Bangladesh Armed Forces are also from PLA or China.  The Bangladeshi military began its development with weapons surrendered by Pakistani forces and the arms supplied by India to the Freedom Fighter (Mukti Bahini). However, by the early 1980s, China had become Bangladesh’s primary supplier of military equipment.

It was 15th September 1988 when I first landed in Beijing being one of the foreign students to learn Chinese language and have had studied Chinese language for two years staying in China. That was my closest opportunity to know China and its people when I was very young. Since then I had been visiting China regularly and have seen the changes in last 23 years. I have seen the China from Herbin in the north to Hainandao in the south and also in between many cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzen, etc, and almost whole China accept three provinces. I wish I would soon complete seeing those places too.

During my every visit to China I was always very surprised seeing her continuous developments and progresses. Every time I took a long breath and answered to myself, “it is China and they are Chinese and so it is possible!”. The achievements of China during last few decades are known to all indeed. During my every visit to China I also had the opportunities to be in close touches with many Chinese leaders as well as very common people in the official as well as business and private capacities from which I have learned something for myself. Of course, there are many related factors associated to the success of present China, however, I would like to express my personal opinion as to what all major factors had possibly been contributing to these continuous successes. In my opinion, major factors were the political stability of the nation, the discipline, motivation and willingness of people to develop the country, and of course the special Chinese leadership to take the country ahead. The pride of the Chinese people that, “we are Chinese and it is China and of course one China” was the main motivation behind all success in my understanding. Well, PLA provided the basic security and strength to the nation for achieving the present glory.

During past 23 years I had the opportunities to listen many top ranking leaders of China and Bangladesh regarding the Sino- Bangladesh friendly cooperation in general and the relationship between PLA and Bangladesh Armed Forces in particular. Today I may recall the speech delivered in 1993 by General Zhang Wan Nian, the then Chief of General Staff (CGS) of PLA during his visit to Bangladesh where he strongly expressed that relationship between PLA and Bangladesh Armed Forces in particular and Sino-Bangladesh relationship in general is long time tested and would remain trusted forever. I have also heard many peace loving common people of both the countries.  I have learned and now believe from all those talking that China Bangladesh relationship is the relationship of long history, not only this formal 36 years, however, now it has taken the shape of the relationship of connectivity, relationship of trust and confidence, relationship of inter dependability, and the relationship of future hope and continuous cooperation for mutual win-win benefits.

Considering the space limitation of this writing, I would like to express only one desire on behalf of common peace loving people of both countries so that the authorities at both ends may consider facilitating easy access to each other’s country and their people for the continuous promotion of culture, sports, tourism, trade and other sectors in general and the understanding as well as bondage between PLA and Bangladesh in particular. I hope the concern authorities would soon do something more positive in this regard. Long live the relationship between PLA vis-a-vis Bangladesh Armed Forces and long live Sino Bangladesh relations.


2 Responses to “People’s Liberation Army and PLA Day- memory and hope of a Bangladeshi”

  1. N.Hossain

    Sorry, did not find any qualifying conclusion to justify the title.

  2. Leena Ijaz

    China is hope for Asia less India.

    BD people can tag themselves with India and get hurt being 2nd grade partner.

    or

    Ride with rest of Asia and emerge as progressive country.

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