The Chinese Defence White Paper 2010 released; PLA takes massive infrastructure building in Tibetan areas; Chinese military nuclear facilities are safe; Zambian military officers visit China; Major scientific achievement claimed;
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  • The Chinese Defence White Paper, 2010, which has been recently released, maintains that Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) adheres to the principle of being non-aligned, non-confrontational, and not directing against any third party in joint exercises and training with other countries. The White Paper informs that, as of December 2010, the PLA had held 44 joint military training and exercises with foreign troops, which is conducive to promoting mutual trust and cooperation, drawing on useful lessons, and accelerating PLA's modernization.1

    Reports noted that the PLA has been undertaking massive infrastructure building in two Tibetan-populated regions of Garze and Aba in Sichuan province. Recently, it has sent the first batch of 300 military vehicles fully loaded with materials for Garze and Aba. The media reported that from 28 March 2011 to late May 2011, there will be over 1,000 military vehicles and more than 2,600 officers and men to participate in transportation of 12,000 tons of high-quality cement and 80,000 new-type tents featuring “cold-proof, heat-insulation, water-proof, flame-prevention, snow-bearing and portability” to 21 counties of the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. These missions will greatly help improve the living conditions of local Tibetans. It is claimed that this infrastructure building is being undertaken upon the request of the Communist Party of China Sichuan Provincial Committee and the Sichuan Provincial People’s Government and approved by the general headquarters/departments of the PLA. This transport mission aims at easing the shortage of transportation capacity in Tibetan-inhabited regions of Sichuan Province. In late February, 2009, the Chengdu MAC sent nearly 300 vehicles to transport 100,000-plus tents and related facilities to the Garze and Aba prefectures of Sichuan Province. From mid May to mid June, 2010, nearly 800 vehicles from the Chengdu MAC delivered 20,000 tons of cement to the four counties of Garze prefecture to support the construction of permanent houses for local farmers and herdsmen.2

    In view of Japanese nuclear crisis, there are world wide concerns about nuclear safety. Responding such concerns, China has said that its military nuclear facilities are safe. Cai Hualie, a senior officer with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) General Staff Headquarters has recently said that China has thoroughly examined the military nuclear facilities shortly after the nuclear plant accident in Japan.3

    Reports noted that senior Zambian military officials under Zambian Army Commander Wisdom Lopa visited China. During their visit, they met Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie in Beijing on April 2. The two sides pledged to strengthen military cooperation between the two nations. Liang Guanglie described the Zambian army as an excellent partner of the Chinese military. Guanglie also noted that China appreciates the Zambian government's “one China” policy and their support on issues concerning China’s core interests, including Taiwan, Tibet and human rights issues.4

    In another development, the General Staff Headquarters (GSH) of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has informed that the scientists have made a breakthrough in the research upon the national defense camouflage technology against guided weapon strike.5 Meanwhile, the Health Department of the General Logistics Department (GLD) of the PLA organized the 23rd International Medical Instrument and Equipment Exhibition at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, capital of China, on March 26. Around 500 exhibitors from over 20 countries and regions participated in this three-day-long exhibition.6

    Missile frigates Zhoushan and Xuzhou of PLA’s 7th escort taskforce reached Tanzania on 26 March. They have visited Tanzania upon the invitation of the Navy of the Tanzania People's Defense Force (TPDF). Tanzania was the first stop of their visit to three African countries. These frigates have just completed their escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali coast which started on 17 November 2010.7

    Reports noted that Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) has opened the Space Flight Dynamics Technology Key Laboratory. The purpose of the establishment of this laboratory is to promote the basic theoretical research on space flight dynamics in China, key technological innovation and scientific research achievement application. This laboratory is aimed at providing powerful theoretical and technical support for the implementation of major aerospace projects of China. The media has reported that the laboratory has more than 50 researchers. It is built in 3,000-plus square meters of research space, and has 40 million yuan worth of supporting facilities.8

    Chen Bingde, a Member of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and Chief of General Staff of the PLA, has recently reiterated that it is imperative to deepen military training reform. He said this at the meeting on deepening military training reform of the PLA on March 29. He said that this meeting presented a practical move to implement the overall plan of the PLA military reform and the Opinions on Further Boosting Military Training Transition issued by the CMC.9 In fact, recently, the CMC, with the approval of its Chairman Hu Jintao, organized the meeting of the PLA on military training reforms. The meeting was held in Guangzhou on 28 March 2011. Chen Bingde, Member of the CMC and Chief of General Staff of the PLA attended the meeting. The meeting focused on the improvement of the systematic combat capability based on information system, innovation of the training mode as well as construction of the training system under informationization conditions, in-depth study of the major realistic issues of military training reform and development, and implementation of reforms in military training field step by step in a planned way, with a view of enhancing the overall level of military training under information-based conditions. The CMC Chairman Hu Jintao had propounded the concept of “promoting the transition from military training under conditions of mechanization to military training under conditions of informationization” at the meeting of the PLA on military training in June 2006.10

    Reports noted that Hu Jintao, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, has recently signed an order to promulgate the newly revised “Regulations of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army on Secrecy”. The regulations will take effect as of May 1, 2011. The purpose of these regulations is “to accentuate and ensure the priority in secrecy work by narrowing down the scope and shortening the front”. The regulations have revised the basic scope of military secrets, and added the secret-definition personnel’s responsibility regulations and the evaluation and re-evaluation regulations regarding declassification in view of the existing problems in related work.11

    In other developments, China’s Ministry of National Defense and the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations recently jointly organized a training session peacekeeping officials. The session was completed on 1 April in Beijing. In this session, 33 peacekeeping officers from 14 countries, including China, Russia and Canada, attended the session. The 12-day session was the first of its kind to be held in China.12 The session marked the gradual institutionalization and standardization of the Chinese participation in UN Peacekeeping.13