How China's PLA maintains internal equilibrium to control external threat

 | Updated: Jul 24, 2019, 07:31 PM IST

China's People's Liberation Army(PLA) has five professional service branches - Ground Force, Navy, Air Force, Rocket Force and Strategic Support Force.

Largest active military in the world

China's armed force, the People's Liberation Army (PLA), is the largest active military in the world.

The PLA has five professional service branches: the Ground Force, the Navy, the Air Force, the Rocket Force and the Strategic Support Force.


Ground Force

The Ground Force is the largest and oldest branch of the entire Chinese armed forces.

It is comprised of mobile operational units, border and coastal defence units, and the guard and garrison units. There are 13 Army Corps, with special operation forces and army aviation brigades.

The Strategic Support Force is a new type of combat force established to maintain national security. It is in charge of cyber, space and electronic warfare.

(Photograph:Zee News Network)

Several branches in the Navy

The Navy has five branches: the Submarine Force, the Surface Force, the Coastal Defense Force, the Marine Corps, and the Naval Air Force. The navy has three fleets, an aircraft carrier, destroyers, missile boats, submarine chasers, and nuclear-powered submarines.

The PLA has five Theater Commands - the Eastern, Southern, Western, Northern, and Central. Each focuses on combat and is responsible for dealing with security threats in their respective strategic scopes.


Rocket Force

As for the Air Force, there are aviation, ground air defence, radar, airborne and electronic countermeasures arms units.

Some advanced weaponry includes the J-20 Stealth Fighter, Y-20 strategic transport aircraft, as well as the J-10 and J-16 combat fighters.

The Rocket Force is set up to strengthen China's strategic-deterrence capabilities.

It is primarily responsible for deterring other countries from using nuclear weapons and carrying out nuclear counterattacks and precision strikes with conventional missiles.

The strategic missile brigade is one of the army's pillar combat forces.


Hong Kong protest

The Chinese military commander responsible for Hong Kong has assured that Chinese troops will not interfere in the city's affairs an apparent signal that they will stay in their barracks amid renewed political upheaval.

Helvey met Chen on a courtesy call at in the PLA’s Hong Kong headquarters on June 13 just metres from where a day earlier police clashed violently with protesters seeking to prevent the passing of a now-suspended bill that would allow people to be extradited to mainland China for trial.

While acknowledging the likely reticence of Beijing deploying the PLA in Hong Kong, security analyst Derek Grossman of the US-based RAND Corporation said there could be no guarantees if protests challenged the core interests of President Xi Jinping and his team.


PLA's involvement

The role of the PLA in Hong Kong has long been one of the most sensitive elements of the handover and a presence closely watched by activists and foreign diplomats.

Some in the city fear the troops could be unleashed to quell violence but police chiefs have insisted their forces are capable of maintaining order.

Legal scholars say that is a very high threshold while some retired security officials say any involvement by PLA units in Hong Kong security would shatter the "one country, two systems" formula under which Hong Kong returned to China.


PLA headquarters

The PLA still occupies bases formerly used by the British across the territory, including several prime sites on Hong Kong Island and the harbour in Kowloon.

The British-built PLA headquarters, topped by a large neon red and gold star, flanks key government offices and the city's legislature – a key target of recent protests.

Regina Ip, a member of the Hong Kong government's leading advisory body and former security chief, said despite 'dangerous provocations' from some protesters, there were no appetite among Beijing or Hong Kong leaders for the PLA to become involved.


China won't part with Taiwan at any cost

In a show of strength, China outlined plans to build a modern, high-tech army in a national defence plan published Wednesday, as it accused Washington of undermining global strategic stability and warned against Taiwanese independence. 

Beijing is firm on the self-ruled island of Taiwan which China views as its own territory and makes 'no promise to renounce the use of force' in bringing it back into the fold.

And with pro-democracy protests raging in Hong Kong, China's defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian cited a law stipulating that the PLA could be deployed to maintain public order if requested by the city's semi-autonomous government.

(Photograph:Zee News Network)