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PLA UPDATE

Issue 4, May 2, 2022 PDF Version

Patrick deGategno, editor

Welcome to the fourth issue of PLA UPDATE, CNA’s monthly newsletter focused on the internal and external affairs of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Each edition of this newsletter draws on the expertise of CNA’s China and Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Division to gather information and provide an update on important developments in the PLA as reported in the Chinese- and English-language media of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

SPECIAL: RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR

In March and April, PRC military and civilian authoritative media continued to adhere closely to the Russian narrative in their portrayals of the Russia-Ukraine war. However, nonauthoritative Chinese media outlets-which are less stringently controlled by the party-state and therefore less directly reflect official policies and opinions-have offered scant and scattered, but slightly more balanced, coverage of the war. Below we summarize one such nonauthoritative media commentary focused on an operational dimension of the war.

NDU Professor on Cognitive Warfare in the Russia-Ukraine War

Patrick deGategno

PLA National Defense University (NDU) professor argues that information operations in the war represent the future of contemporary warfare. On March 17, the Global Times published an op-ed by Senior Colonel Li Minghai, a professor at the PLA NDU National Security College War and Crisis Response Training Center, claiming that cognitive warfare is the "essence" of the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine.[1]

Cognitive domain operations, according to Li, use neuroscience, new information technologies (such as big data and artificial intelligence), and mass communication channels and platforms to execute cyber, psychological, public opinion, legal, and other forms of information warfare across the conflict continuum and at all levels of war. Li argues that these operations influence opponents' thought processes and ideology through disseminating propaganda, indoctrinating populations, and infiltrating their culture and value systems. Li asserts that this "mind war" weaponizes language and ideas to "affect targets' cognition," influence their pursuit of their military and political objectives, and "change their decision-making and behavior."

Li alleges that Russia, Ukraine, and Western countries have effectively exploited the global society's growing reliance on communications technologies and platforms to sway domestic and international support for their respective aims. According to Li, these states have accomplished this exploitation by selectively releasing key leadership statements and information-along with disinformation and misinformation-about the war, particularly in audio-visual formats, on global social media platforms. To illustrate his point, Li summarizes key statements that Vladimir Putin, Volodymyr Zelensky, and global leaders have issued to muster their citizens' support and the support of other countries for their respective sides of the conflict. According to Li,

  • Putin's statements about the conflict have affected the course of the war, the concerns of the international community, and Russia's domestic and global public "positive and tough" image;
  • Zelenky's public statements about the war have had a global influence few would have predicted before the onset of hostilities, "obviously triggering a change in international public opinion"; and
  • The speeches of US, French, British, and other Western heads of state have all made clear their stance on the conflict, which "will affect the ups and downs of global public opinion."

If we follow Li's reasoning, then it would seem reasonable to speculate that the PRC's own official statements and media coverage of the war constitute a form of cognitive domain operations in support of Russia's war effort. Li's opinions in this editorial align with views expressed in other publications by PRC military and civilian analysts, who believe that efforts to influence domestic and international opinion will become more important in future conflicts, and that these efforts will be aided by artificial intelligence.

Nevertheless, the heavy kinetic action between Russia and Ukraine suggests that cognitive warfare, while important, is not likely the "essence" of this conflict, as Li claims. Instead, Li may be overestimating cognitive warfare's importance to advocate for the salience of his field of study rather than present an accurate assessment of the conflict. (For more on PRC views concerning cognitive warfare and the future of modern war, see CNA's October 2021 study The PLA and Intelligent Warfare: A Preliminary Analysis by Kevin Pollpeter and Amanda Kerrigan.)

ORGANIZATIONAL ISSUES

In this section, we first discuss the beginning of the 2022 conscription cycle. For the second consecutive year, the PLA is following a semiannual conscription and demobilization policy. [2] This new conscription cycle, which was first announced in 2020 but was delayed until 2021 because of COVID-19, [3] is part of broader military reform efforts and has replaced the once-a-year conscript induction model.[4] PLA watchers outside China have noted that this new conscription model could enhance conscript training and discipline, thereby improving military readiness because smaller numbers of personnel would now enter and leave the system.

We then discuss a report on a recent PLA effort to improve its military awards system by creating the August 1 Medal, the PLA's new highest honor.

PLA's Early 2022 Conscription Prioritizes College Students

Brian Waidelich

New conscripts boarding a high-speed train to travel to their units.
New conscripts boarding a high-speed train to travel to their units. They wear sashes that read, "When one person joins the military, it brings honor to the whole family" (一人参军,全家光荣). Source: China Military Online .[5]

The PRC Defense Ministry announced in January that the first round of annual PLA conscription would take place from February 15 to March 31. According to a ministry spokesperson, PLA conscription work in the first half of 2022 would prioritize recruiting college students-specifically students majoring in science and engineering and those with "skills required for combat readiness and warfighting." [6] Citing the same desired skills, the Central Military Commission (CMC) Political Work Department announced in mid-March their desire to recruit about 3,600 civilian college graduates as military officers. [7]

Transportation of conscripts throughout China kicked off on March 16. PLA Daily reported that the PLA used the "New Soldier Transportation Planning Management System" (an information system developed by the CMC) the first time this year. The new system reportedly optimizes conscript transport by reducing the number of transfers and the time underway and by increasing the use of high-speed rail. [8] Other methods for conscript transport included chartered aircraft, roll-on/roll-off ships, and intercity buses. [9]

By early April, PLA media published various articles on the start of training for new conscripts throughout the services and forces of the Chinese military.[10] As in previous years, China did not release information on the total numbers of personnel conscripted.

The second round of conscription in 2022 will start to start on August 15 and conclude on September 30. [11]

CMC Announces New Medal for Outstanding Personnel

Kelly Buckley and Brian Waidelich

The CMC has announced the August 1 Medal for outstanding military service.[12] A Xinhua report on the new medal states that it is now the PLA's highest honor. [13] According to Xinhua, the CMC has issued nomination guidelines for the medal, urging units to select model figures who have made outstanding contributions to safeguarding national sovereignty, security, and development interests, while advancing national defense and military modernization. [14] The CMC will award the August 1 Medal for the first time this year on the 95th anniversary of the founding of the PLA. [15]

This new medal is part of the PLA's implementation of recently announced revisions to its military awards system. According to a February 2022 China Military Online article, improvements to this system have greatly "[enhanced] the attractiveness of military careers and the sense of mission and honor of the military personnel in China." [16] (This article is related to the article " Implementation Measures for the Commendation of Military Merits and Honors," which we included in our first PLA UPDATE.)

LAWS AND REGULATIONS

In this section, we feature summaries of reports on a batch of new CMC regulations designed to improve the human capital of the PLA's non-commissioned officers (NCO) corps. Like the new regulations we summarized in our past three issues, these NCO regulations are clearly part of the "Third Big Campaign" in the PLA's reform agenda, which focuses on improving the military policy system. [17] (For more on the Third Big Campaign and the state of PLA reform, see David Finkelstein's September 2021 report The PLA's New Joint Doctrine: The Capstone of the New Era Operations Regulations System.)[18]

CMC Implements New NCO and Conscript Regulations and Policies

Kelly Buckley and Brian Waidelich

New CMC regulations and policies seek to enhance the professionalism of NCOs and the roles of conscripts. According to Xinhua and China Military Online reports, the new regulations took effect on March 31 and address NCO professionalism and career stability, while "allowing conscripts to play a more fundamental role in the development of the Chinese military."[19] More specifically, the regulations address NCO and conscript recruitment, training, management, development, rank promotion, benefits, demobilization, retirement, and other core military reform issues. We discuss one of those new policies in more detail in the next summary.

New Policy Seeks to Retain High-Demand PLA NCOs

Brian Waidelich

In late 2021, the PLA began implementing a military-wide policy aimed at retaining NCOs with critically needed technical expertise. The policy, referred to as "extended service" (延期服役), is reportedly pursuant to last October's revised PRC Military Service Law.[20] Under extended service, "outstanding" NCOs who are ineligible for rank promotion and are nearing the end of time-in-rank restrictions may apply to have their period of service extended. [21]

The policy's rollout comes at a time when the PLA has purportedly struggled to fill certain high-demand NCO billets. In a February 24 interview with PLA Daily, Li Hailu, political commissar of a PLA Navy ship testing center, said that military organizations at various levels had recently lost "backbone" (i.e., leading NCOs), limiting the organizations' combat readiness. Li told the PLA Daily that the new policy will help ensure smoother turnovers and better stability in the personnel system. [22]

PRC media have reported examples of military units retaining NCOs under the new policy:

  • On December 2021, China Military Video Net reported that "over 10" NCOs of an 81st Group Army aviation brigade were "among the first" PLA NCOs to extend their service under the new policy.[23]
  • According to a January 2022 China Military Online report, a Northern Theater Navy Aviation department extended the service of an unspecified number of NCOs, including those with expertise in aircraft maintenance, air combat service, air support, and airborne electronic countermeasures. [24]
  • A February 2022 PLA Daily article stated that a PLA Navy ship testing center retained 12 outstanding Master Sergeants Fourth Class under the extended service policy. [25]
  • A March 2022 China Youth Daily article claimed that "nearly 20" NCOs of a PLA Army Airborne Corps brigade extended their service after passing retention assessments at the end of 2021.[26]

How successful the new policy has been to date is unclear since PRC media has not disclosed how many NCOs the PLA seeks to retain or how many have extended service. A purported increase in workloads for extended-service NCOs also raises questions about the policy's long-term feasibility. Commenting on a group of NCOs who extended their periods of service, one PLA Daily article noted that "even though there has been no change in their military rank, the responsibilities on their shoulders have grown heavier." [27]

PROFESSIONAL MILITARY EDUCATION

The next summary describes a way the PLA's professional military education system provides the PLA with more combat-realistic training and education, while also supporting planning for future combat operations.

Army Battle Lab Develops Operational Plan Assessment System

Brian Waidelich

Battle lab members test their new digital platform.
Battle lab members test their new digital platform. Source: PLA Daily. [28]

A PLA Army Command College "battle lab" (作战实验室) reportedly developed a means for optimizing combined arms operational planning. According to an April 2022 PLA Daily report, the battle lab has created a digital platform known as the "Army Combined Arms Unit Operational Plan Simulation and Assessment System," which lab staff described as the battle lab's "brain." The platform generates (1) graphics visualizing data such as units' assault speed, inflicted damage, and ammunition consumption, and (2) assessments of draft plans for evaluating their strengths and weaknesses of the plans. The system reportedly includes different assessment models and metrics corresponding to unique characteristics of "intelligentized" and unmanned operations. [29]

PLA AIR FORCE

The PLA Air Force (PLAAF) is hard at work developing its strategic projection capabilities. As the next summary shows, the Xi'an Y-20 large transport aircraft is proving vital to that effort.

12 PLAAF Y-20 Transport Flights Deliver Weapons to Serbia

Ryan Loomis

Three of six Y-20s at Nikola Tesla International Airport in Belgrade, Serbia, on April 9.
Three of six Y-20s at Nikola Tesla International Airport in Belgrade, Serbia, on April 9. Source:The Observer.

PRC media and subject matter experts (SMEs) assert Y-20 military equipment deliveries to Serbia showcase PLA "strategic air force" capabilities. On April 9 and 10, a total of 12 Y-20 flights reportedly delivered PRC-made FK-3 air defense systems to the Serbian military as part of a 2019 arms sale deal. [31] During an April 11 routine press conference, PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Zhao Lijian confirmed that Beijing sent Y-20 transport aircraft to deliver "conventional military supplies" to Serbia. [32] Citing public flight tracking information from Flightradar24 and other ADS-B trackers, PRC media reports said that for at least two consecutive days, the same six Y-20 aircraft made two roughly 16,000-kilometer round trip flights from China to Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade, Serbia. [33] The aircraft each stopped for one ground refueling, some in Istanbul, Turkey, and others in Baku, Azerbaijan. [34]

Compared to past international Y-20 flights, such as international deliveries of COVID-19 aid and disaster relief to Tonga in the wake of its January volcano eruption, the Serbia deliveries stand out for at least two reasons. First, the Serbia Y-20 deliveries represented a large number of long-distance sorties compared to the one-flight or two-flight aid deliveries of the recent past. Second, at a highly sensitive time in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, China demonstrated its strategic airlift capability by delivering weapons to a country near Ukraine. [35]

PLAAF Spokesperson Shen Jingke said in September 2021 that with the increase in the PLAAF's fleet of Y-20 and J-20 aircraft, the service had "crossed the historical threshold to become a 'strategic air force.'" PRC SMEs and media asserted that the April 2022 Y-20 flights across Eurasia are further indications of this.[36] For example, military commentator Wu Jian on Shenzhen Satellite TV asserted that the PLA's "timely delivery to a complex region and through an unfamiliar meteorological environment" demonstrates improvements to its strategic projection capabilities." [37] Commenting on the same program, "PLA Air Force expert" Fu Qianshao claimed that conducting 12 Y-20 intercontinental sorties in two days was a record, demonstrating PRC "strategic air force" technical and flight crew capabilities for long-range delivery of heavy equipment under complex situations.[38]

PLA NAVY

In the next summary, we see the Djibouti Support Base further developing its capabilities to support an ever-growing range of PLA overseas operations.

PLA Ship Docks at Djibouti Support Base for First Time

Ryan Loomis

A PLA Navy new-type fast combat support ship made its first reported PLA Navy port call to the newly constructed pier at Djibouti Support Base-the PLA's sole overseas military base. The Type 903A "Fuchi II" class supply ship CNS Luomahu (AOE-964) docked at the 450-meter pier of the PLA overseas support base in late March for resupply. The vessel was participating in the PLA Navy's 40th Naval Escort Task Force (NETF) in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia, according to satellite imagery cited in Western media reports and repeated in PRC media. [39] In the past, NETF vessels have resupplied at the PRC-built Doraleh Multipurpose Port nearby.[40] With its dock operational and able to support a supply ship purpose-built to replenish aircraft carriers, Djibouti Support Base can ostensibly accommodate aircraft carriers, eliminating Beijing's reliance on the nearby civilian port.

PLA JOINT LOGISTICS SUPPORT FORCE

One responsibility of the PLA Joint Logistic Support Force (JLSF) is overseeing the PLA's medical system. The quality of the PLA medical support system is unevenly spread across the force, just as the quality of China's civilian medical system is uneven. The article summarized below offers useful details on how the PLA is working through the JLSF to improve the PLA system.

Hundred-Day Review of JLSF Medical System Reform Work

Timothy Ditter

PLA media published a report reviewing the first 100 days of JLSF efforts to implement new regulations on military medical reform. Beginning in early 2022, the CMC issued a series of policy documents aimed at improving soldiers' lives, the quality of medical care, and veterans' treatment and benefits. [41] One of these documents, enacted on January 1, 2022, and titled, "Interim Provisions on the Medical Treatment and Protection of Soldiers and Military-Related Personnel," focuses on "protecting the health of military members and their families and ensuring the happiness of military families."[42]

An article published in China Military Online on April 15, 2022, outlines the success of the "Provisions" 100 days after it was enacted. The article details a series of measures PLA hospitals have taken to reduce wait times for soldiers, simplify the process for receiving medical care, increase overall communication, and improve the availability of medical services. [43] According to the authors, medical benefits have improved in the following ways:

  • The First Medical Center of the PLA General Hospital established a "special services" area to better support military personnel and their families by combining services from multiple departments into one area. PLA General Hospital plans to set up special military service areas in all its medical centers. [44]
  • Family members of border guards and soldiers from the Tibetan Autonomous Region can now access the military's online WeChat health service platform "Military Hospital Bridge" (junyuan xinqiao; 军医新桥), managed by the Army Medical University.[45]

PLA STRATEGIC SUPPORT FORCE

In its 14th Five-Year Plan issued January 12, Beijing declared artificial intelligence (AI) as a "strategic area" in which it aims to enhance its basic research capabilities as part of the PRC's larger efforts to develop its digital economy.[46] The plan describes PRC objectives for integrating AI into national intelligent infrastructure and for pursuing AI applications in government services, smart cities, intelligent manufacturing, autonomous driving, and language intelligence. The plan also outlines efforts to develop intelligent infrastructure in industries such as agriculture, animal husbandry, water conservancy, environmental protection, and health services. The plan as published, however, does not describe how the PRC will incorporate AI into military technology and PLA operations.

Below we summarize a recent report describing one way in which the PLA Strategic Support Force seeks to develop and integrate AI into its space-based reconnaissance capabilities. (For more on China's 14th Five-Year Plan, see the seventh issue of CNA's The China AI and Autonomy Report.)[47]

PLA Researchers Develop Artificial Intelligence for Target Tracking by Satellite

Kevin Pollpeter

The PLA Strategic Support Force (PLASSF) Space Engineering University reportedly has developed an AI system that enables satellites to track targets. According to an April 7 South China Morning Post (SCMP) report on an article authored by PLASSF university researchers, the AI application can track targets from the Jilin-1 satellite's video feed with a 95 percent success rate. [48] According to SCMP, the application could enable even low-cost satellites to track targets. The research in SCMP's report first appeared in Fire Control and Command Control, a PRC peer-reviewed journal published by state-owned defense conglomerate China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO). [49]

According to SCMP's report, this AI application is unlike previous systems because it can track flying aircraft and moving cars and reacquire targets after they make sharp turns or transit a bridge or tunnel. However, this AI system may lack a real-time tracking capability because it must transmit video feed to a ground station where it is processed by a computing center. The article noted that newer PRC satellites have been equipped with processors that could be uploaded with the tracking algorithm.

MILITARY DIPLOMACY & OVERSEAS ACTIVITIES

In 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported that Cambodia and China had signed a secret agreement to allow the PLA to use the Royal Cambodian Navy Ream Naval Base near Sihanoukville. The pact provides the PLA with exclusive rights to be part of the Cambodian base on the Gulf of Thailand in exchange for the PRC building new base infrastructure.[50] Such an agreement did not happen overnight; rather, it was the product of many years of steadily increasing political, economic, and military cooperation between the PRC and Cambodia-cooperation such as the kind described in the next summary.

PLA to Help Build Cambodian Army Academy Facility

Kelly Buckley

Royal Cambodian Army Academy construction project begins with PLA support. Three of six Y-20s at Nikola Tesla International Airport in Belgrade, Serbia, on April 9. Source:The Observer. Xinhua reported on March 28 that the PLA will help build the Cambodia Royal Army Academy Teaching Complex Project in the Kompong Speu Province. [51] This project is the latest in a series of PRC construction support projects for the academy. It will reportedly involve the construction of a new teaching complex, a lecture hall, and an auditorium, along with the renovation of 20 academy buildings and improvements to associated roads and water supply networks. The Royal Cambodian Army Commander-in-Chief General Om Bisai and the deputy defense attaché of the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia Colonel Zhu Shuaifei attended the groundbreaking ceremony on March 28. [52] According to Xinhua, this construction project is one more example of close cooperation between the PLA and the Cambodian military.

NOTES

[1] Li Minghai (李明海), "Li Minghai: The Cognitive Domain Is Becoming the Main Battlefield in Future Intelligentized Hybrid Warfare" (李明海: 认知域正成为未来智能化混合战争主战场), Global Times (环球时报), Mar. 17, 2022, https://yrd. huanqiu.com/article/47DoZ45dMzV.

[2] "China's Military to Recruit Twice a Year from 2020," China Military Online, Jan. 16, 2020, http://english.chinamil.com.cn/view/2020-01/16/content_9718679.htm; "China Starts 2021 Military Recruitment Work," China Military Online, Jan. 6, 2021, http://english.chinamil.com.cn/view/2021-01/06/content_9963828.htm.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] "Joint Logistic Support Force Goes All Out to Do a Good Job in 2022 Spring Conscription New Soldier Transportation Work" (联勤保障部队全力做好2022年春季征兵新兵运输投送工作), China Military Online, Mar. 18, 2022, http://www.81. cn/l-b/2022-03/18/content_10141634.htm.

[6] "National Defense Ministry Introduces Recruitment Work: Your Dream Waits for You" (国防部介绍征兵工作: 你的梦想等你来), PRC Ministry of National Defense, Jan. 27, 2022, http://www.mod.gov.cn/jzhzt/2022/01/27/content_4903954 .htm.

[7] "China Military to Recruit 3,600-Odd Fresh College Graduates as Officers," China Military Online, Mar. 14, 2022, http://eng.chinamil.com.cn/view/2022-03/14/content_10140691.htm.

[8] Bian Wei and Sun Xingwei, "Transportation Work Fully Underway for New Soldiers in First Half of 2022, Transportation Time to Be Greatly Reduced" (2022年上半年新兵运输投送工作全面展开 在途时间将大幅缩短), PLA Daily, Mar. 17, 2022, http://www.81.cn/jw/2022-03/17/content_10147128.htm.

[9] "Joint Logistics Support Force Goes All Out to Do a Good Job in 2022 Spring Conscription New Soldier Transportation Work" (联勤保障部队全力做好2022年春季征兵新兵运输投送工作), China Military Online, Mar. 18, 2022, http://www.81.cn/l-b/2022-03/18/content_10141634.htm.

[10] See, for example, Liu Zhicheng and Chen Sinuo, "New Soldiers Start Training!" (新兵开训!), China Military Online, Apr. 6, 2022, http://www.81.cn/hjj/2022-04/06/content_10146136.htm; Zhao Ziqi, Wu Kezhen, Li Hetang, Han Bo, and Wang Cheng, "What a Spectacle! New Soldiers of Spring 2022 Fervently Begin Training" (大场面! 2022年度春季新兵火热开训), China Military Video Net, Apr. 12, 2022, http://tv.81.cn/jq360/2022-04/12/content_10147449.htm.

[11] "National Defense Ministry Introduces Recruitment Work: Your Dream Waits for You" (国防部介绍征兵工作: 你的梦想等你来), PRC Ministry of National Defense, Jan. 27, 2022, http://www.mod.gov.cn/jzhzt/2022/01/27/content_4903954 .htm.

[12] Wang Xinjuan, "Chinese Military to Award August 1 Medal to Outstanding Personnel," Xinhua, Mar. 29, 2022, http://english.chinamil.com.cn/view/2022-03/29/content_10144393.htm.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Wang Xinjuan, "China Releases Regulation to Improve Commendation of Military Honors," China Military Online, Feb. 9, 2022, http://eng.mod.gov.cn/news/2022-02/09/content_4904598.htm.

[17] For more on PLA reform campaigns, see David M. Finkelstein, "Testimony before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission: The Chinese View of Strategic Competition with the United States," June 24, 2020, https://www.uscc.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/David_Finkelstein_Testimony.pdf.

[18] David M. Finkelstein, The PLA's New Joint Doctrine: The Capstone of the New Era Operations Regulations System , CNA, Sept. 2021, https://www.cna.org/CNA_files/PDF/The-PLAs-New-Joint-Doctrine.pdf.

[19] "Approved by Xi Jinping, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, the Central Military Commission Issued the 'Interim Regulations for Sergeants,' 'Interim Regulations for Conscripts' and Related Supporting Regulations" (经中央军委主席习近平批准中央军委印发《军士暂行条例》, 《义务兵暂行条例》及相关配套法规), Xinhua (新华), Mar. 30, 2022, http://www.81.cn/sydbt/2022-03/30/content_10144769.htm; Wang Xinjuan, "China Issues New Regulations on Management of Soldiers," China Military Online, Mar. 30, 2022, http://english.chinamil.com.cn/view/2022-03/30/content_10144850.htm.

[20] "Military Service Law of the People's Republic of China (2021 Revision)" (中国人民共和国兵役法(2021修订)), Peking University Legal Information Center English Website (北大法律英文网), accessed Apr. 25, 2022, https://www. lawinfochina.com/display.aspx?lib=law&id=36390.

[21] National Defense and Military Morning Report, "Newly Revised Military Service Law of the People's Republic of China Is Implemented: A Group of Excellent Noncommissioned Officers to Extend Their Service and Continue on Their Military Dream" ("新修订的《中华人民共和国兵役法》落地施行" 一批优秀军士选择延期服役续写军旅梦), China Military Video Net, Dec. 12, 2021, http://www.js7tv.cn/video/202112_266030.html.

[22] Song Zixun, Chai Yulong, and Wang Yuzheng, "Unidentified Ship Testing Center of Navy: 'I'll Set Up as Large of a Stage as You Have Talent'" (海军某试验舰中心: "你有多大才, 我搭多大台"), PLA Daily, Feb. 24, 2022, http://www.81.cn/ jfjbmap/content/2022-02/24/content_310081.htm.

[23] National Defense and Military Morning Report, "Newly Revised Military Service Law of the People's Republic of China Is Implemented: A Group of Excellent Noncommissioned Officers to Extend Their Service and Continue on Their Military Dream" ("新修订的《中华人民共和国兵役法》落地施行" 一批优秀军士选择延期服役续写军旅梦), China Military Video Net, Dec. 12, 2021, http://www.js7tv.cn/video/202112_266030.html.

[24] Wu Gang, Li Chunmeng, and Duan Yanbing, "Extend Service and Let a New Chapter Be Written in One's Military Experience" (延期服役, 让 "浪花白" 的军旅再续新篇章), China Military Online, Jan. 11, 2022, http://www.81.cn/hj/2022-01/11/content_10122345.htm.

[25] Song Zixun, Chai Yulong, and Wang Yuzheng, "Unidentified Ship Testing Center of Navy: 'I'll Set Up as Large of a Stage as You Have Talent'" (海军某试验舰中心: "你有多大才, 我搭多大台"), PLA Daily, Feb. 24, 2022, http://www.81.cn/ jfjbmap/content/2022-02/24/content_310081.htm.

[26] Xiao Yanfei, Li Yangyang, and Zhang Qiang, "If NCOs Are Strong, Then Combat Power Is Strong" (士官强则战斗力强), China Youth Daily, Mar. 17, 2022, http://zqb.cyol.com/html/2022-03/17/nw.D110000zgqnb_20220317_1-07.htm.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Xiong Dongxu and Han Cheng, "Army Command College Battle Lab: Opening a New Realm of Using Science and Technology to Train Troops" (陆军指挥学院作战实验室: 开辟科技练兵新境界), PLA Daily, Apr. 1, 2022, http://www.81.cn/jx/2022-04/01/content_10145268.htm.

[29] Ibid.

[30] See, for example Wang Shiyi, "12 Y-20 Arrive in Serbia, US Media: 'China Holds Show of Force'" (12架运20抵塞尔维亚美媒: "中国人举行了武力展示"), Observer, Apr. 11, 2022, https://www.guancha.cn/military-affairs/ 2022_04_10 _634164.shtml; Shenzhen Satellite Television (深圳卫视), Apr. 14, 2022, https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=xYa1Kv-zT4E.

[31] See for example ibid.

[32] " Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on April 11, 2022," Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, Apr. 11, 2022, https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/ 2511_665403/202204/t20220411_10666750.html.

[33] Privy Council No.10, "Unprecedented in Scale! The Y-20 Fleet Delivered 'Conventional Military Supplies' to Serbia for Three Consecutive Days" (规模空前! 运-20大机群连续三天向塞尔维亚运送 "常规军事物资"), Global Times, Apr. 12, 2022, https://m.huanqiu.com/article/47a4u9T7o4H.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Brian Waidelich, "The Military Delivery of Aid to Tonga and Insights for Indo-Pacific Force Posture," CNA In Depth, Feb. 16, 2022, https://www.cna.org/news/InDepth/2022/02/tonga-aid; "China's 6 Y-20s Headed Out Together. What Missiles Were Delivered to Serbia?" (中国6架运-20齐出 向塞尔维亚运送的是什么导弹?), Xinhua, Apr. 12, 2022, http://www.news.cn/mil/2022-04/12/c_1211635632.htm.

[36] Li Qiang, "China 'Crosses the Threshold of a Strategic Air Force,' Experts: Moving Towards the Goal of Building a Modern Strategic Air Force" (中国 "跨入战略空军门槛", 专家: 朝着建成现代化战略空军目标迈进), Global Times (环球时报), Sept. 2, 2021, https://world.huanqiu.com/article/44b6S4x0Ovn; see PRC "military aviation expert" Fu Qianshao speaking on Shenzhen Satellite Television on Y-20 flights to Serbia indicating PLAAF strategic air force capabilities, Shenzhen Satellite Television (深圳卫视), Apr. 14, 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYa1Kv-zT4E.

[37] Shenzhen Satellite Television (深圳卫视), Apr. 14, 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYa1Kv-zT4E.

[38] Ibid.

[39] H.I. Sutton, "Chinese Navy Ship Seen at Important African Base for First Time," Covert Shores, Mar. 26, 2022, http://www.hisutton.com/OSINT-China-Navy-Ship-Djibouti.html; "US Media: Chinese Warship Docked in at Special Pier in Africa for the First Time, China Has Its First Overseas Naval Base" (美媒: 中国战舰首次进驻非洲专用码头, 中国有了首个海外海军基地), Zhuanlan, Mar. 28, 2022, https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/489164150; Liu Xuanzun, "Alleged PLA Navy Ship's Port Call in Djibouti 'Contributes to Regional Stability,'" Global Times, Mar. 29, 2022, https://www.globaltimes .cn/page/202203/1257128.shtml.

[40] Zhao Yang and Gao Yanjie, "PLA Naval Escort Taskforce Completes in-Port Replenishment in Djibouti," China Military Online, Dec. 6, 2021, http://eng.chinamil.com.cn/view/2021-12/06/content_10112985.htm.

[41] In January 2022, the CMC issued the "Decision on Strengthening the Work of Military Talents in the New Era," focused on "promoting the high-quality development of the PLA, winning military competition, and seizing the initiative in future wars." See "Approved by Xi Jinping, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, the Central Military Commission Issued the 'Decision on Strengthening the Work of Military Talents in the New Era'" (经中央军委主席习近平批准 中央军委印发《关于加强新时代军队人才工作的决定》), Government of the People's Republic of China, Jan. 26, 2022, http://www.gov.cn/xinwen/2022-01/26/content_5670581.htm.

[42] "A 100-Day Review of the Implementation of the Interim Provisions on the Protection of Medical Benefits for Soldiers and Military-Related Personnel," China Military Online, Apr. 15, 2022, http://www.81.cn/l-b/2022-04/15/content_10148337.htm.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Ibid.

[46] "State Council Notice on Printing and Distributing the '14th Five-Year' Plan to Develop the Digital Economy" (国务院关于印发 "十四五" 数字经济发展规划的通知), Government of the People's Republic of China, Jan. 12, 2022, http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/content/2022-01/12/content_5667817.htm.

[47] The China AI and Autonomy Report , Issue 7, Arlington: CNA, Jan. 27, 2022, https://www.cna.org/centers/cna/cip/ china/china-ai-newsletters/issue-7.

[48] Stephen Chen, "Chinese AI Turns Commercial Satellite into a Spy Tracker Able to Follow Small Objects with Precision: Paper," South China Morning Post, Apr. 7, 2022, https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3173285/chinese-ai-turns-commercial-satellite-spy-tracker-able-follow.

[49] Liu Yaosheng, Liao Yurong, Lin Cunbao, Li Zhaoming, and Ni Shuyan, "Video Satellite Target Tracking Algorithm Based on Kernel Correlation Filter" (基于核相关滤波的视频卫星目标跟踪算法), Fire Control and Command Control (火力与指挥控制), No. 47, Issue 2, (Feb. 2022).

[50] Jeremy Page, Gordon Lubold, and Rob Taylor, "Deal for Naval Outpost in Cambodia Furthers China's Quest for Military Network," Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/secret-deal-for-chinese-naval-outpost-in-cambodia-raises-u-s-fears-of-beijings-ambitions-11563732482; Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, "Update: China Continues to Transform Ream Naval Base," CSIS, Oct. 12, 2021, https://amti.csis.org/changes-underway-at-cambodias-ream-naval-base/.

[51] Wu Changwei (吴长伟), "The Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Teaching Complex Building Project of the Chinese Army Aid Cambodia Army Academy Was Held" (中国军队援柬陆军学院教学综合楼项目举行开工仪式), Xinhua (新华), Mar. 28, 2022, http://www.81.cn/yw/2022-03/28/content_10144121.htm.

[52] Ibid.

About PLA UPDATE

PLA UPDATE is a monthly newsletter produced by CNA’s China and Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Division (CIP). In each issue, CIP analysts provide summaries of noteworthy Chinese media coverage focused on the internal and external affairs of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Email PLAUPDATE@CNA.ORG to subscribe/ unsubscribe.

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