Today, with their interests and security intertwined, people across the world are becoming members of a community with a shared future. China is at a critical stage of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and embarking on the new journey of building a modernized socialist country in an all-round way. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era.
The Chinese government is issuing China’s National Defense in the New Era to expound on China’s defensive national defense policy and explain the practice, purposes and significance of China’s efforts to build a fortified national defense and a strong military, with a view to helping the international community better understand China’s national defense.
I. International Security Situation
The world today is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. As economic globalization, the information society, and cultural diversification develop in an increasingly multi-polar world, peace, development and win-win cooperation remain the irreversible trends of the times. Nonetheless, there are prominent destabilizing factors and uncertainties in international security. The world is not yet a tranquil place.
The International Strategic Landscape Is Going Through Profound Changes
As the realignment of international powers accelerates and the strength of emerging markets and developing countries keeps growing, the configuration of strategic power is becoming more balanced. The pursuit of peace, stability and development has become a universal aspiration of the international community with forces for peace predominating over elements of war. However, international security system and order are undermined by growing hegemonism, power politics, unilateralism and constant regional conflicts and wars.
International strategic competition is on the rise. The US has adjusted its national security and defense strategies, and adopted unilateral policies. It has provoked and intensified competition among major countries, significantly increased its defense expenditure, pushed for additional capacity in nuclear, outer space, cyber and missile defense, and undermined global strategic stability. NATO has continued its enlargement, stepped up military deployment in Central and Eastern Europe, and conducted frequent military exercises. Russia is strengthening its nuclear and non-nuclear capabilities for strategic containment, and striving to safeguard its strategic security space and interests. The European Union (EU) is accelerating its security and defense integration to be more independent in its own security.
Global and regional security issues are on the increase. International arms control and disarmament efforts have suffered setbacks, with growing signs of arms races. The non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction remains problematic. The international non-proliferation regime is compromised by pragmatism and double standards, and hence faces new challenges. Extremism and terrorism keep spreading. Non-traditional security threats involving cyber security, bio-security and piracy are becoming more pronounced. The Iranian nuclear issue has taken an unexpected turn, and there is no easy political solution to the Syrian issue. The security of individual countries is becoming increasingly intertwined, interlinked and interactive. No country can respond alone or stand aloof.
The Asia-Pacific Security Situation Remains Generally Stable
Asia-Pacific countries are increasingly aware that they are members of a community with shared destiny. Addressing differences and disputes through dialogue and consultation has become a preferred policy option for regional countries, making the region a stable part of the global landscape. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is forging a constructive partnership of non-alliance and non-confrontation that targets no third party, expanding security and defense cooperation and creating a new model for regional security cooperation. The China-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting and the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) play positive roles in enhancing trust among regional countries through military exchanges and cooperation. The situation of the South China Sea is generally stable and improving as regional countries are properly managing risks and differences. Steady progress has been made in building a coordinated counter-terrorism mechanism among the militaries of the regional countries. A balanced, stable, open and inclusive Asian security architecture continues to develop.
As the world economic and strategic center continues to shift towards the Asia-Pacific, the region has become a focus of major country competition, bringing uncertainties to regional security. The US is strengthening its Asia-Pacific military alliances and reinforcing military deployment and intervention, adding complexity to regional security. The deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in the Republic of Korea (ROK) by the US has severely undermined the regional strategic balance and the strategic security interests of regional countries. In an attempt to circumvent the post-war mechanism, Japan has adjusted its military and security policies and increased input accordingly, thus becoming more outward-looking in its military endeavors. Australia continues to strengthen its military alliance with the US and its military engagement in the Asia-Pacific, seeking a bigger role in security affairs.
Regional hotspots and disputes are yet to be resolved. Despite positive progress, the Korean Peninsula still faces uncertainty. South Asia is generally stable while conflicts between India and Pakistan flare up from time to time. Political reconciliation and reconstruction in Afghanistan is making progress in the face of difficulties. Problems still exist among regional countries, including disputes over territorial and maritime rights and interests, as well as discord for ethnic and religious reasons. Security hotspots rise from time to time in the region.
China’s Security Risks and Challenges Should Not Be Overlooked
China continues to enjoy political stability, ethnic unity and social stability. There has been a notable increase in China’s overall national strength, global influence, and resilience to risks. China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development. Nevertheless, it also faces diverse and complex security threats and challenges.
The fight against separatists is becoming more acute. The Taiwan authorities, led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), stubbornly stick to “Taiwan independence” and refuse to recognize the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle. They have gone further down the path of separatism by stepping up efforts to sever the connection with the mainland in favor of gradual independence, pushing for de jure independence, intensifying hostility and confrontation, and borrowing the strength of foreign influence. The “Taiwan independence” separatist forces and their actions remain the gravest immediate threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the biggest barrier hindering the peaceful reunification of the country. External separatist forces for “Tibet independence” and the creation of “East Turkistan” launch frequent actions, posing threats to China’s national security and social stability.
China’s homeland security still faces threats. Land territorial disputes are yet to be completely resolved. Disputes still exist over the territorial sovereignty of some islands and reefs, as well as maritime demarcation. Countries from outside the region conduct frequent close-in reconnaissance on China by air and sea, and illegally enter China’s territorial waters and the waters and airspace near China’s islands and reefs, undermining China’s national security.
China’s overseas interests are endangered by immediate threats such as international and regional turmoil, terrorism, and piracy. Chinese diplomatic missions, enterprises and personnel around the world have been attacked on multiple occasions. Threats to outer space and cyber security loom large and the threat of non-traditional security issues posed by natural disasters and major epidemics is on the rise.
Global Military Competition Is Intensifying
Major countries around the world are readjusting their security and military strategies and military organizational structures. They are developing new types of combat forces to seize the strategic commanding heights in military competition. The US is engaging in technological and institutional innovation in pursuit of absolute military superiority. Russia is advancing its New Look military reform. Meanwhile, the UK, France, Germany, Japan and India are rebalancing and optimizing the structure of their military forces.
Driven by the new round of technological and industrial revolution, the application of cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information, big data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things is gathering pace in the military field. International military competition is undergoing historic changes. New and high-tech military technologies based on IT are developing rapidly. There is a prevailing trend to develop long-range precision, intelligent, stealthy or unmanned weaponry and equipment. War is evolving in form towards informationized warfare, and intelligent warfare is on the horizon.
Great progress has been made in the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) with Chinese characteristics. However, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has yet to complete the task of mechanization, and is in urgent need of improving its informationization. China’s military security is confronted by risks from technology surprise and growing technological generation gap. Greater efforts have to be invested in military modernization to meet national security demands. The PLA still lags far behind the world’s leading militaries.
II. China’s Defensive National Defense Policy in the New Era
The socialist system of China, the strategic decision to follow the path of peaceful development, the independent foreign policy of peace, and the best of cultural traditions – considering peace and harmony as fundamentals – determine that China will pursue a national defense policy that is defensive in nature.
Resolutely Safeguarding China’s Sovereignty, Security and Development Interests
This is the fundamental goal of China’s national defense in the new era.
China’s national defense aims:
• to deter and resist aggression;
• to safeguard national political security, the people’s security and social stability;
• to oppose and contain “Taiwan independence”;
• to crack down on proponents of separatist movements such as “Tibet independence” and the creation of “East Turkistan”;
• to safeguard national sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and security;
• to safeguard China’s maritime rights and interests;
• to safeguard China’s security interests in outer space, electromagnetic space and cyberspace;
• to safeguard China’s overseas interests; and
• to support the sustainable development of the country.
China resolutely safeguards its national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The South China Sea islands and Diaoyu Islands are inalienable parts of the Chinese territory. China exercises its national sovereignty to build infrastructure and deploy necessary defensive capabilities on the islands and reefs in the South China Sea, and to conduct patrols in the waters of Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. China is committed to resolving related disputes through negotiations with those states directly involved on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law. China continues to work with regional countries to jointly maintain peace and stability. It firmly upholds freedom of navigation and overflight by all countries in accordance with international law and safeguards the security of sea lines of communication (SLOCs).
To solve the Taiwan question and achieve complete reunification of the country is in the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation and essential to realizing national rejuvenation. China adheres to the principles of “peaceful reunification”, and “one country, two systems”, promotes peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, and advances peaceful reunification of the country. Meanwhile, China resolutely opposes any attempts or actions to split the country and any foreign interference to this end. China must be and will be reunited. China has the firm resolve and the ability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will never allow the secession of any part of its territory by anyone, any organization or any political party by any means at any time. We make no promise to renounce the use of force, and reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is by no means targeted at our compatriots in Taiwan, but at the interference of external forces and the very small number of “Taiwan independence” separatists and their activities. The PLA will resolutely defeat anyone attempting to separate Taiwan from China and safeguard national unity at all costs.
Never Seeking Hegemony, Expansion or Spheres of Influence
This is the distinctive feature of China’s national defense in the new era.
Though a country may become strong, bellicosity will lead to its ruin. The Chinese nation has always loved peace. Since the beginning of modern times, the Chinese people have suffered from aggressions and wars, and have learned the value of peace and the pressing need for development. Therefore, China will never inflict such sufferings on any other country. Since its founding 70 years ago, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has never started any war or conflict. Since the introduction of reform and opening-up, China has been committed to promoting world peace, and has voluntarily downsized the PLA by over 4 million troops. China has grown from a poor and weak country to be the world’s second largest economy neither by receiving handouts from others nor by engaging in military expansion or colonial plunder. Instead, it has developed through its people’s hard work and its efforts to maintain peace. China has made every effort to create favorable conditions for its development through maintaining world peace, and has equally endeavored to promote world peace through its own development. China sincerely hopes that all countries will choose the path of peaceful development and jointly prevent conflicts and wars.
China is committed to developing friendly cooperation with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. It respects the rights of all peoples to independently choose their own development path, and stands for the settlement of international disputes through equal dialogue, negotiation and consultation. China is opposed to interference in the internal affairs of others, abuse of the weak by the strong, and any attempt to impose one’s will on others. China advocates partnerships rather than alliances and does not join any military bloc. It stands against aggression and expansion, and opposes arbitrary use or threat of arms. The development of China’s national defense aims to meet its rightful security needs and contribute to the growth of the world’s peaceful forces. History proves and will continue to prove that China will never follow the beaten track of big powers in seeking hegemony. No matter how it might develop, China will never threaten any other country or seek any sphere of influence.
Implementing the Military Strategic Guideline for a New Era
This is the strategic guidance for China’s national defense in the new era.
The military strategic guideline for a new era adheres to the principles of defense, self-defense and post-strike response, and adopts active defense. It keeps to the stance that “we will not attack unless we are attacked, but we will surely counterattack if attacked”, places emphasis on both containing and winning wars, and underscores the unity of strategic defense and offense at operational and tactical levels.
Implementing the military strategic guideline for a new era, China’s armed forces strive to keep in alignment with and contribute to the general strategies of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the country, adopt a holistic approach to national security, strengthen the awareness of potential dangers, crises and wars, and actively adapt to the new landscape of strategic competition, the new demands of national security, and new developments in modern warfare, so as to effectively fulfill their tasks and missions in the new era.
To respond to the security threats facing the country, China’s armed forces take solid steps to strengthen military preparedness and comprehensively enhance combat capabilities for the new era. Efforts have been made to build the military strategy into a balanced and stable one for the new era, which focuses on defense and coordinates multiple domains. Based on the idea that China’s national defense is the responsibility of all Chinese people, China’s armed forces give full play to the overall power of the people’s war by innovating in its strategies, tactics and measures.
China is always committed to a nuclear policy of no first use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones unconditionally. China advocates the ultimate complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. China does not engage in any nuclear arms race with any other country and keeps its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security. China pursues a nuclear strategy of self-defense, the goal of which is to maintain national strategic security by deterring other countries from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against China.
Continuing to Strengthen the Military in the Chinese Way
This is the path forward for China’s national defense in the new era.
Building a fortified national defense and a strong military commensurate with the country’s international standing and its security and development interests is a strategic task for China’s socialist modernization. Drawing lessons from history, China strengthens its national defense and military to provide security guarantee for its peaceful development.
To strengthen China’s national defense and military in the new era, it is imperative to comprehensively implement Xi Jinping’s thinking on strengthening the military, thoroughly deliver on Xi Jinping’s thinking on military strategy, continue to enhance the political loyalty of the armed forces, strengthen them through reform and technology, run them in accordance with the law, and focus on the capabilities to fight and win. Efforts will be made to advance the integrated development of mechanization and informationization, speed up the development of intelligent military, create a modernized military force structure with Chinese characteristics, improve and develop socialist military institutions with Chinese features, and constantly enhance the capabilities to fulfill the missions and tasks in the new era.
The strategic goals for the development of China’s national defense and military in the new era are:
• to generally achieve mechanization by the year 2020 with significantly enhanced informationization and greatly improved strategic capabilities;
• to comprehensively advance the modernization of military theory, organizational structure, military personnel, and weaponry and equipment in step with the modernization of the country and basically complete the modernization of national defense and the military by 2035; and
• to fully transform the people’s armed forces into world-class forces by the mid-21st century.
In the Service of Building of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind
This is the global significance of China’s national defense in the new era.
The dream of the Chinese people is closely connected with the dreams of peoples around the world. Peace, stability and prosperity in China present opportunities and benefits to the rest of the world. A strong military of China is a staunch force for world peace, stability and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
China’s armed forces advocate common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, uphold justice while pursuing shared interests, and actively participate in the reform of global security governance system. Efforts are made to deepen bilateral and multilateral security cooperation, promote a coordinated, inclusive and complementary cooperation among security mechanisms, and contribute to a security architecture featuring equality, mutual trust, fairness, justice, joint contribution and shared benefits.
Committed to the principle of win-win cooperation, China’s armed forces will fulfill their international responsibilities and obligations, and provide more public security goods to the international community to the best of their capacity. They actively participate in the UN peacekeeping operations (UNPKOs), vessel protection operations, and international efforts in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), strengthen international cooperation in arms control and non-proliferation, play a constructive role in the political settlement of hotspot issues, jointly maintain the security of international passages, and make concerted efforts to respond to global challenges such as terrorism, cyber security and major natural disasters, thus making a positive contribution to building a community with a shared future for mankind.
III. Fulfilling the Missions and Tasks of China’s Armed Forces in the New Era
In the new era, to meet the strategic demands of national security and development, China’s armed forces firmly implement the missions and tasks entrusted by the CPC and the people. They endeavor to provide strategic support for consolidating the leadership of the CPC and the socialist system, safeguarding national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, protecting China’s overseas interests, and promoting world peace and development.
Safeguarding National Territorial Sovereignty and Maritime Rights and Interests
China has a land border of more than 22,000 km and a coastline of over 18,000 km, China surpasses most of countries in the number of neighboring countries, the length of land border, and the complexity of maritime security. Therefore, it is a daunting task for China to safeguard its territorial sovereignty, maritime rights and interests, and national unity.
China’s armed forces maintain a rigorous guard against encroachment, infiltration, sabotage or harassment so as to safeguard border security and stability. China has signed border cooperation agreements with 9 neighboring countries and set up border meeting mechanisms with 12 countries. China’s armed forces have established mechanisms for exchanges with neighboring countries at three levels: national defense ministry, Theater Commands (TCs), and border troops. They conduct regular friendly mutual visits, working meetings, joint patrols and joint exercises targeting transnational crime with their foreign counterparts. They work together with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan to implement the border disarmament treaty. They strive to promote stability and security along the border with India, and take effective measures to create favorable conditions for the peaceful resolution of the Donglang (Doklam) standoff. They enhance control along the border with Afghanistan to guard against the infiltration of terrorists. They strengthen security management along the border with Myanmar, so as to secure stability and public safety in the border areas. Since 2012, China’s border troops have completed over 3,300 joint patrols and conducted over 8,100 border meetings with their foreign counterparts. They have cleared mines from 58 square kilometers of land, closed 25 square kilometers of landmine area, and disposed of 170,000 explosive devices such as landmines along the borders with Vietnam and Myanmar.
China’s armed forces defend important waters, islands and reefs in the East China Sea, the South China Sea and the Yellow Sea, acquire full situation awareness of adjacent waters, conduct joint rights protection and law enforcement operations, properly handle maritime and air situations, and resolutely respond to security threats, infringements and provocations on the sea. Since 2012, China’s armed forces have deployed vessels on over 4,600 maritime security patrols and 72,000 rights protection and law enforcement operations, and safeguarded maritime peace, stability and order.
China’s armed forces conduct air defense, reconnaissance and early warning, monitor China’s territorial air and peripheral air space, carry out alert patrols and combat takeoff, and effectively respond to emergencies and threats to maintain order and security in the air.
Aiming at safeguarding national unity, China’s armed forces strengthen military preparedness with emphasis on the sea. By sailing ships and flying aircraft around Taiwan, the armed forces send a stern warning to the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces.
Maintaining Combat Readiness
Maintaining combat readiness is an important assurance of effective response to security threats and fulfillment of tasks. The Central Military Commission (CMC) and the TCs’ joint operations commands perform combat readiness duties strictly, and conduct regular inspections and drills to ensure combat readiness at all times. Consistent efforts are made to improve the capabilities of joint operations command to exercise reliable and efficient command over emergency responses, and to effectively accomplish urgent, tough and dangerous tasks. In 2018, the CMC conducted surprise inspections throughout the armed forces and organized readiness drills for the units, covering 21 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, and parts of the East China Sea and South China Sea.
The PLA and the People’s Armed Police Force (PAP) give greater priority to combat readiness. Efforts are made to strictly act on relevant regulations and procedures, fulfill readiness duties, conduct targeted exercises and training, and maintain standardized order, with a view to staying ready to act when required and effectively carrying out readiness (combat) duties.
Carrying Out Military Training in Real Combat Conditions
Military training is the basic practice of the armed forces in peacetime. China’s armed forces put military training in an important position and take combat effectiveness as the sole and fundamental criterion. In order to enhance realistic training, they optimize the policy framework and criteria in this respect, establish and improve the relevant supervision system, conduct supervision on military training for emergencies and combat across the services, implement the responsibility system for training and readiness, and organize extensive contests and competitions to encourage officers and soldiers to step up military training.
Military training in real combat conditions across the armed forces is in full swing. Since 2012, China’s armed forces have carried out extensive mission-oriented training tailored to the specific needs of different strategic directions and exercises of all services and arms, including 80 joint exercises at and above brigade/division level.
The TCs have strengthened their leading role in joint training and organized serial joint exercises codenamed the East, the South, the West, the North and the Central, to improve joint combat capabilities.
The PLA Army (PLAA) has organized training competitions and conducted live exercises codenamed Stride and Firepower. The PLA Navy (PLAN) has extended training to the far seas and deployed the aircraft carrier task group for its first far seas combat exercise in the West Pacific. It has organized naval parades in the South China Sea and the waters and airspace near Qingdao, and conducted a series of live force-on-force exercises codenamed Mobility and systematic all-elements exercises. The PLA Air Force (PLAAF) has strengthened systematic and all-airspace training based on operational plans. It has conducted combat patrols in the South China Sea and security patrols in the East China Sea, and operated in the West Pacific. It has completed a series of regular system-vs.-system exercises such as Red Sword. The PLA Rocket Force (PLARF) has organized force-on-force evaluation-oriented training and training based on operational plans at brigade and regiment levels, strengthened training for joint strikes, and completed regular exercises such as Heavenly Sword. The PLA Strategic Support Force (PLASSF) has made active efforts to integrate into the joint operations systems. It has carried out confrontational training in new domains and trained for emergencies and combats. The PLA Joint Logistic Support Force (PLAJLSF) has striven to align itself with the joint operations systems, and conducted exercises such as Joint Logistics Mission 2018. The PAP has developed to meet the requirements of nationwide coverage, effective connectivity, all-area response and integrated functions, and conducted a series of exercises including Guard.
Safeguarding Interests in Major Security Fields
Nuclear capability is the strategic cornerstone to safeguarding national sovereignty and security. China’s armed forces strengthen the safety management of nuclear weapons and facilities, maintain the appropriate level of readiness and enhance strategic deterrence capability to protect national strategic security and maintain international strategic stability.
Outer space is a critical domain in international strategic competition. Outer space security provides strategic assurance for national and social development. In the interest of the peaceful use of outer space, China actively participates in international space cooperation, develops relevant technologies and capabilities, advances holistic management of space-based information resources, strengthens space situation awareness, safeguards space assets, and enhances the capacity to safely enter, exit and openly use outer space.
Cyberspace is a key area for national security, economic growth and social development. Cyber security remains a global challenge and poses a severe threat to China. China’s armed forces accelerate the building of their cyberspace capabilities, develop cyber security and defense means, and build cyber defense capabilities consistent with China’s international standing and its status as a major cyber country. They reinforce national cyber border defense, and promptly detect and counter network intrusions. They safeguard information and cyber security, and resolutely maintain national cyber sovereignty, information security and social stability.
Countering Terrorism and Maintaining Stability
China firmly opposes all forms of terrorism and extremism. As mandated by law, China’s armed forces participate in operations for maintaining social order, prevent and combat violence and terrorism, safeguard political security and social stability, and secure the public’s right to live and work in peace.
The PAP fulfills missions such as guarding key targets, on-site security protection, setting check points on key passages, and armed urban patrols. In accordance with the law, the PAP supports civil authorities in law enforcement operations to combat criminal gangs and terrorist activities, actively participates in the maintenance of public order, and prevents and responds to potential threats to China’s political security and social order, thus making a significant contribution to the Peaceful China initiative. Since 2012, the PAP has deployed large numbers of troops annually in security duties, counter-terrorism, emergency response, and maritime rights protection and law enforcement. It has completed around 10,000 security assignments during major events such as the G20 Summit, the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the BRICS Leaders Meeting, and the SCO Qingdao Summit, and participated in the response to 671 hostage situations, incidents of severe violence, and terrorist attacks. Since 2014, the PAP has assisted the government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in taking out 1,588 violent terrorist gangs and capturing 12,995 terrorists.
The PLA supports the civil authorities in maintaining social stability, provides security for major events, and responds to emergencies in accordance with the law. It is mainly tasked with missions such as counter-terrorism, NBCE detection and test, medical relief, and transport support. It disposes of potential safety hazards in the waters and protects security in the air over and around major event venues.
Protecting China’s Overseas Interests
Overseas interests are a crucial part of China’s national interests. One of the missions of China’s armed forces is to effectively protect the security and legitimate rights and interests of overseas Chinese people, organizations and institutions.
The PLA actively promotes international security and military cooperation and refines relevant mechanisms for protecting China’s overseas interests. To address deficiencies in overseas operations and support, it builds far seas forces, develops overseas logistical facilities, and enhances capabilities in accomplishing diversified military tasks. The PLA conducts vessel protection operations, maintains the security of strategic SLOCs, and carries out overseas evacuation and maritime rights protection operations.
In August 2017, the PLA Djibouti Support Base entered service. The base has provided equipment for the maintenance of four escort task groups, offered medical services for over 100 officers and sailors on board, conducted joint medical exercises with foreign militaries, and donated over 600 teaching aids to local schools.
When the security situation in Yemen deteriorated in March 2015, a PLAN escort task group sailed to the Gulf of Aden, berthed for the first time directly in an engagement area, and evacuated 621 Chinese citizens and 279 foreign citizens from 15 countries including Pakistan, Ethiopia, Singapore, Italy, Poland, Germany, Canada, the UK, India and Japan.
Participating in Disaster Rescue and Relief
Participating in national development and protecting the public’s rights to work in peace are the responsibilities of China’s armed forces mandated by the Constitution of the PRC. As stipulated in the Regulations on Participation in Emergency Rescue and Disaster Relief by China’s Armed Forces, China’s armed forces are mainly tasked with rescuing, transferring and evacuating trapped populations; ensuring the security of important targets; salvaging and transporting important materials; conducting specialized operations such as restoration of transport facilities including roads, bridges and tunnels, maritime search and rescue, NBC rescue, epidemic control and medical relief; eliminating or controlling other major threats, dangerous situations and disasters; and supporting civil authorities in post-disaster reconstruction.
Since 2012, the PLA and the PAP have deployed 950,000 soldiers, 1.41 million militia, 190,000 vehicles and items of equipment, and sortied 26,000 vessels and 820 aircraft in emergency response and disaster relief. They have participated in rescue and relief efforts such as the earthquake in Ludian County of Yunnan Province, the rainstorm and flood in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, and the removal of the barrier lake in the Yarlung Zangbo River. They have assisted local governments to rescue and transfer over 5 million people, treated over 210,000 patients, transported over 360,000 tons of goods, and reinforced over 3,600 km of levees. In 2017, the PLA Macao Garrison sent 2,631 soldiers and over 160 vehicles to assist the government of Macao Special Administrative Region in its relief efforts in the wake of Typhoon Hato.