Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The PLA Digest - January 2015

January 2015
  • PLA recruits first domestic homing pigeons
Source: ECNS.CN, (DoP): January 1, 2015

A military homing pigeon team in Chengdu, Sichuan province, has for the first time recruited new domestic members.
Pigeons that are recruited must fly very fast and be able to find precise locations. Eagles swoop downwards very rapidly but ascend slowly; by contrast, pigeons fly upwards very quickly.
After two months training, only pigeons that pass tests in stamina, courage and obedience are made full members.
Experts explained that in the digital era, the tradition of using carrier pigeons is maintained by the military because the birds are not easily interfered with by human activity and can accurately deliver messages to precise locations.

  • Japan's Triple Motives in Attacking Chinese Military Exercises
Source: People’s Daily, (DoP): 02 January 2015

Zhang Junshe, a researcher at the Institute of Military Studies of the Chinese Navy, argued in The People’s Daily about China’s right to conduct military activities in the waters of the Western Pacific Ocean. He said: “Since December 4, the Chinese Navy has been organizing ships and planned activities in the waters of the Western Pacific Ocean so as to conduct remote sea drills following its annual training plan. To the Chinese navy’s normal training activities, the Japanese side has appeared very uncomfortable and reacted inappropriately. Since December 4, the Japanese side has repeatedly sent ships and planes to follow, monitor, and harass China’s warships. Japan also issued several statements, such as the so-called ‘given the fact that China's military planes entered Japanese airspace, the Japanese Air Self Defense Force dispatched fighter planes in an emergency,' … hyping the information about the ‘China threat.’"

  • Two of China’s princeling generals retire as part of President Xi Jinping’s leadership reshuffle
Source: South China Morning Post, (DoP): January 2, 2015

Two princeling generals from the PLA have left their positions as part of an ongoing leadership reshuffle. Generals Zhang Haiyang and Liu Xiaojiang retired as the political commissars of the PLA Second Artillery Corps and Navy respectively. Zhang is the son of former Central Military Commission deputy chairman Zhang Zhen, while Liu is former party general secretary Hu Yaobang’s son-in-law and the son of Red Army veteran Liu Haibin. Both generals had turned 65 – the army’s maximum retirement.

  • Typist sentenced to death in China for leaking military secrets
Source: South China Morning Post, (DoP): January 2, 2015

A young typist who worked at a Chinese military manufacturer’s research centre that was developing a secret weapons system has been sentenced to death for spying for a foreign intelligence agency.
Yu Hongyang, a member of staff at an unnamed research office, was said to have damaged national security by leaking state secrets, The Global Times reported.
He was caught by the Ministry of State Security for allegedly buying secret information and then selling it in an ‘extremely severe’ case that warranted the death penalty.

  • PLA launches website for military equipment procurement
Source: ECNS.CN, (DoP): January 4, 2015

The Chinese PLA has launched a website www.weain.mil.cn for the procurement of military equipment.
The website will mainly publish new demands for military equipment on the first working days in January and July. It will include information on policy and rules, product technology, equipment knowledge, and services. Users of the website are divided into three groups with different access permissions – visitor, registered user, and certified user. The Chinese military has been pushing for reforms of military procurement as part of a larger government procurement reform effort.

  • China to achieve mass delivery of ‘Pterosaur’ UAV in 2015
Source: China Military Online, (DoP): January 5, 2015

The Pterosaur, a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) independently developed by China, has ushered in its maiden test flight in formations in early 2015. The mass delivery of this type of UAV can be expected this year.
With a body length of more than 9 meters and a wingspan of 14 meters, the Pterosaur UAV may stay in the air for a long time.
Flying in formations may help the Pterosaurs collaborate better during tasks performance, which is also a big test for the control system.
After more than 20 minutes of flying over mountainous in south China’s Guizhou province, the Pterosaurs found the airport accurately and landed successfully.

  • ‘Red Army’ division conducts winter training
Source: China Military Online, (DoP): January 6, 2015

The military website publishes pictures showing troops marching in a desert with the following caption: “A ‘Red Army’ division of the Chinese PLA stationed in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region conducted a five-day-long winter training under frigid weather conditions from December 27 to 31, 2014.”

  • Political commissars promoted to serve in Xinjiang in PLA reshuffle
Source: South China Morning Post, (DoP): January 5, 2015

Three political officers have been promoted to serve in the Lanzhou Military Area Command, the latest personnel changes in a major reshuffle within the PLA.
Lieutenant General Liu Lei, the former military political commissar in Xinjiang, has been promoted in the same role in Lanzhou MAC.
Lanzhou command oversees the restive Xinjiang region, as well as the neighbouring northwestern provinces of Gansu, Shaanxi and Qinghai, and the Ningxia region. Liu replaces Lieutenant General Miao Hua, who has become political commissar in the PLA Navy.
Liu, 57, who originally comes from Shandong province, joined the army when he was 16. He has spent more than 40 years serving in the northeast of China, including Lanzhou, Xinjiang and southern Xinjiang (opposite Ladakh).

  • China's J-10B fighter superior to main fighters of neighbors
Source: China Military Online, (DoP): January 6, 2015

Zhang Zhaozhong, a military expert at the National Defense University (NDU), said in an interview that the J-10B fighter is at least 30 percent better than the J-10A fighter in overall performance.
In addition, it possesses advantages as compared with the third-generation fighters of China’s neighboring countries and the 3.5-generation fighters deployed in the Asia Pacific Region by the U.S.. The J-10B fighter possesses advantages and does not lag behind, said the expert.
The website published pictures showing 14 J-10B fighters painted with the mark of the PLAAF on the parking apron at the airport of the Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Co., Ltd.. This type of modified fighter will possibly be deployed by the PLAAF, according to a recent report on the website of the Jane's Defense Weekly.

  • PLA orders combat officers and commissars to trade places to boost fighting capability
Source: South China Morning Post, (DoP): January 11, 2015

The PLA has ordered combat officers and those in charge of political training at the grass-roots level to switch posts to improve both fighting capability and political loyalty of the army.
The new measure will apply to chief officers at all grass-roots units in the army and the armed police, according to a circular quoted by the PLA Daily.
The report said that President Xi Jinping wanted officers to have wider training early in their careers. "The circular will have a positive impact to help cultivate officers who show talent in both military and political affairs," the report said.
Political officers and commissars are in charge of ensuring the loyalty and political correctness of the army. Usually they have different career paths from combat officers.
The circular said the scheme would be expanded to all grass-roots units. But the army would still find ways to ensure the continuity of officers' career paths even though they would be moved around more often.

  • Hundreds of Chinese reported trapped as rebels battle government in north Myanmar: report
Source: South China Morning Post, (DoP): January 19, 2015

Beijing says it is investigating reports that hundreds of Chinese citizens are caught in fighting between government troops and rebels in Myanmar's Kachin state - but it has confirmed that some of its nationals were arrested earlier this month on suspicion of illegal logging.
The Global Times reported yesterday that hundreds of Chinese citizens, including jade dealers, gold miners and lumberjacks, were among 2,000 civilians trapped, citing an unidentified intelligence official for a Myanmar rebel group.
Hong Lei, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that China was investigating the report, but confirmed that Chinese citizens had been detained on suspicion of illegal logging. He did not say how many. Hong confirmed that Beijing had requested that the Myanmese government protect their safety and rights.
Some 146 people, including 126 Chinese, were arrested in raids on illegal logging operations that began on January 4 in Kachin.

  • Go through hell to become a PLA 'hunter'
Source: People's Daily Online, January 14, 2015

2014 is the year that Wang Jianbo will never forget. He did not take a sensible job offer like most other people would do; instead, he stayed in the army, trained to be a PLA ‘hunter’, won a Third-Level Merit.
When Wang Jianbo was a new recruit, the movie Charging Out Amazon triggered his dream of being a ‘hunter’. In order to realize his dream, Wang kept challenging himself —extreme physical training or field survival; he never let any opportunity pass. In 2012, he successfully passed the selection process and joined the training team to become a PLA ‘hunter’.
Late one night in 2014, Wang was attacked in his sleep and realized the whole class was being kidnapped. Little could he have expected the torture that awaited him. He recalls being tied upside down and submerged in water but he refused to answer any of the kidnappers' questions. He almost suffocated once. But for all that, he never said a word to the enemy. At last, the ‘bad guys’ gave in. It turned out to be a test of physical strength and psychological endurance for the ‘hunters’.
After a series of harsh and testing training sessions, Wang Jianbo won himself the title of ‘air force excellent hunter’.

  • Xi calls out military corruption, forbids ‘non-salary income’
Source: Global Times, (DoP): January 19, 2015

Chinese President Xi Jinping targeted corruption among high-ranking military officers that any income other than their salaries is strictly forbidden, after the PLA announced investigation on 16 senior military officials.
The PLA Daily quoted Xi saying that military officers can only rely on their salaries for income. Any unapproved income or illegal gains will be investigated and punished.
The editorial emphasized that Xi in his speech was targeting senior military officers: “The fight against corruption begun in 2012 is not a selective investigation of a few corrupt officials, but rather a campaign to uphold the rule of law and to eliminate the root causes of corruption," adding that the real solution to prevent corruption is to institutionalize anti-graft efforts and public monitoring.
The editorial also said that achieving real results in the crackdown will require the military to create a ‘new norm’ in which military officers are no longer interested in taking bribes.

  • PLA deploys military training tasks in 2015
Source: China Military Online, (DoP): January 20, 2015

The website published photos of troops of a brigade of the Chinese PLA stationed in the southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region conducting training with weight at an altitude of over 4,500 meters.
The General Staff Headquarters (GSH) of the Chinese PLA recently issued the Instructions on Military Training Tasks in 2015 for the PLA deployed for military training tasks.
The Instructions clarified that the PLA and the People's Armed Police Force (PAPF) shall constantly strengthen their actual-combat military training and improve the capability of winning local wars in information-based environment.
The Instructions also stressed the need to deepen strategic and campaign training, launch conditioned training between various services and arms, enhance night combat and training suiting modern wars and training in complex electromagnetic environment and special geographical environment and under extreme weather conditions, and expand joint military exercises, training and competitions with foreign countries.

  • Official offered bribes of 40 million yuan to boss in bid to escape corruption charges
Source: South China Morning Post, (DoP): January 23, 2015

A Chinese official offered bribes of more than 40 million yuan (US $ 6.5 million) to his boss in a last-ditch attempt to save himself after being charged with corruption.
Former lieutenant general Gu Junshan, who was deputy head of the PLA General Logistics Department, confessed – and reportedly implicated former general Xu Caihou – when he realised Xu could not save him from charges of embezzlement, bribery, misuse of state funds and abuse of power.
Gu, who was sacked after being detained in 2012, admitted offering bribes to Xu, who retired as vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission last year. Xu is now being investigated on suspicion of corruption.
Details of Gu’s attempts to escape justice – and subsequent confession that implicated Xu – were revealed in an article by Honesty Outlook, a Sichuan provincial magazine that focuses on anti-corruption.

  • Anti-graft drive will strengthen PLA
Source: China Daily, (DoP): January 27, 2015

China faces major as well as potentially minor security threats, and given the complicated international situation, the security environment in its neighborhood cannot be said to be satisfactory. This calls for further reform of the military, without which China cannot safeguard its national security.
The reform of China's military is also necessary to keep pace with the military buildup across the world and to cleanse the force of bad elements, especially senior officers, that have indulged in corruption and pomposity and thus lowered the morale of patriots.
An armed force's main responsibility is to safeguard a country's national security and defend its territorial integrity against attacks. With such a perception in mind, China's leadership under President Xi Jinping has accorded the highest priority to military reforms. The reforms are also expected to improve national governance.
The ever-intensifying anti-corruption campaign, which has netted ‘tigers’ (corrupt high-ranking officials) as well as ‘flies’ (lower-raking officials), has prompted some people to ask whether the campaign would affect the fighting spirit of the military.

  • PLA auditor refers more corruption cases to graft busters
Source: South China Morning Post, (DoP): January 29, 2015

The PLA auditor handed more corruption leads to graft busters in 2014 than in the previous 30 years, according to the PLA Daily.
Among the audited senior officials, 21 were expelled from their posts and 61 were’ disqualified’ from their jobs for causing ‘economic havoc’. Seventy seven officers were ‘invited for a talk’ and 144 were transferred to other posts.
The CMC took over control of the PLA audit office in November, a move experts said would strengthen President Xi Jinping’s campaign to root out widespread corruption in the armed forces.
Previously, the military audit office was affiliated with the PLA General Logistics Department – which has turned out to be one of the centres of corruption in the military that saw two department deputy chiefs in succession detained in corruption probes.

  • Defense Ministry's regular press conference
Source: Ministry of National Defence, (DoP): January 29, 2015

Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, the spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) answered reporters' questions during a regular press conference on January 29, 2015. Two questions were related to India.

Question: It is reported that the United States is helping India in intelligence gathering on China’s naval submarine activities in the Indian Ocean. What might be the impact of such intelligence exchange on the military-to-military relationship between India and China?

Answer: Actually I have noticed the report that you have mentioned. Acting in accordance with relevant UN resolutions, the Chinese military has sent various kinds of naval ships to the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali coast to conduct escort missions since 2008. And in the process, we have notified relevant countries of the escort missions of the PLA naval ships, including the PLA naval submarines. In the future, the Chinese military will send different kinds of naval ships to take part in the naval escort missions in accordance with the situation and the requirement to fulfill the task. These are quite normal activities and there is no need to read too much into them.

Question: From what you said about the submarines and the surveillance in Indian Ocean, can I presume that now there will be more Chinese naval activities in Indian Ocean? And also, there was also criticism or question marks raised on what was the purpose of submarine deployment in anti-piracy operations. How China explains the participation of submarines in such activities?

Answer: Just as what I have said, China has sent various types of naval ships to take part in the escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali coast since 2008. And different types of naval ships play different roles in missions.
You also mentioned Chinese naval activities in the far seas. It is indeed true that China has sent more naval ships to the far seas and conducted many operations including the naval escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali coast. And also, the Chinese Navy has provided humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and medical services for relevant countries and areas, and conducted search and rescue operations in international waters.
By doing so, the Chinese Navy is providing more public security services to the international society, which is conducive to maintaining global peace and promoting common development.

  • China’s army must strictly obey Xi Jinping’s orders: PLA Daily
Source: Bloomberg, (DoP): January 28, 2015

Military newspaper's exhortation suggests dissent within the ranks over the president's far-reaching anti-corruption campaign
China’s military must ‘resolutely obey’ President Xi Jinping’s orders, says a commentary on the PLA Daily’s website, in a sign that Xi is seeking to quell possible dissent as his anti-corruption campaign penetrates deeper into the armed forces.
“Adherence to the Party’s absolute leadership is a founding principal of the army,” says a commentary.
All officers and soldiers should ‘resolutely obey’ the Communist Party and Central Military Commission chairman’s orders. Xi heads both the party and the commission, the highest military body.
The publication comes two weeks after 16 PLA generals were put under graft investigation as Xi seeks to root out corruption that he says undermines the military’s combat readiness.

  • Don’t shoot! Curious bullhead shark halts China military exercise
Source: South China Morning Post, (DoP): January 29, 2015

A bullhead shark stopped China’s naval flotilla in its tracks while it was conducting a military drill on an escort mission to the Gulf of Aden.
The PLA’s naval news portal reported that the flotilla, lead by replenishment ship Weishanhu, had laid out dozens of balloons at sea in a two-nautical-mile area as targets for its gunners.
But the bullhead shark appeared through gunner Tong Yang’s viewing scope as he was about to pull the trigger. It appeared to have been attracted by the colourful balloons and was playing around them.
Tong’s superior ordered him to hold fire, the report said. It did not specify when or where the exercise took place.
The PLA has been intensifying its military drills over the past two years, after President Xi Jinping ordered the troops to be combat-ready.

  • China stresses more anti-corruption efforts in military
Source: Xinhua, (DoP): January 30, 2015

The CMC asked the army to root out ‘chronic diseases’, seek both temporary and permanent solutions and fundamentally improve their work style.
The management and supervision of middle and high-ranking officers should be highlighted, said a document, adding zero tolerance stance must be insisted upon. "There should never be any sanctuary for corrupt officers in the military."
CMC’s Chairman Xi Jinping has said that corruption threatened the survival of the Party and called for serious reflection on the corruption case of Xu Caihou, former CMC vice chairman.

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