China’s PLA: Numbers In The Front, Darkness Behind

In the global game of numbers, China has been doing rather well. Based on their ability to operate on land, sea, and the air, as well as their financial savviness and variety of weapon systems, China’s armed forces were ranked third out of 133 nations. Compared to Russia, it possesses more planes and naval vessels, but far fewer operational tanks. Only USA and Russia have a lower score (0.0945) than the Chinese Armed Forces.  A resonating name in the realm of military development, nuclear weapons, secret projects yet the secrecy digs deeper than one might think. Here comes some of the instances if China at all deserves the innocent attention.

Work Experience Matters

Although it boasts the world’s largest armed forces, Chinese soldiers have virtually no combat experience. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) struggles under the legacy of an obsolete command system, rampant corruption, and training of debatable realism, among other issues, and to top that an average Chinese soldier’s resume is rather blank. Although it engaged in a minor naval skirmish with Vietnam over the Johnson South Reef in 1988, the PLA last fought a major conflict nearly 40 years ago, when a seasoned Vietnamese military demolished a bungled Chinese invasion in 1979. The ghost of that defeat still hovers over the PLA. In China, authorities have largely chosen to ignore an embarrassing conflict that fits awkwardly with Beijing’s narrative of a peaceful rise, but the official silence has left many PLA veterans disillusioned about their participation in the war. It has been rather a much peaceful growth for China despite tensions are always high between the neighbours and rival states like USA. The few combat veterans who remain in service will all retire within the next few years, which means the military will soon have no personnel with first hand combat experience. Without the test of combat, the PLA’s war-fighting prowess remains unproven. Chinese authorities acknowledged this point earlier in 2018 when the military’s official newspaper, the PLA Daily, criticized what it described as “peace disease.” Decades of peace and prosperity, the newspaper warned, have exacerbated corruption and undermined readiness.

PLA Troops Have an Altitude Limit

China has been rapidly modernizing its military in recent years, but it still lags behind in one key area: high-altitude warfare. This is a serious problem for China, as it shares a long border with India, which is a master of high-altitude warfare. There are a number of reasons why Chinese troops are underperforming in high-altitude warfare. First, they lack the necessary training. The Chinese military does not have a long history of fighting in the mountains, and its training does not adequately prepare soldiers for the harsh conditions of high altitude. Chinese military does not have a good understanding of the operational challenges of high-altitude warfare. This is because China has not fought a major war in the mountains since the 1962 Sino-Indian War. In addition to the factors mentioned above, there are a number of other reasons why Chinese troops are underperforming in high-altitude warfare. These include:

  • The lack of a robust mountain infrastructure in China. This makes it difficult to transport troops and equipment to high-altitude areas. (Although since 2020 Eastern ladakh standoff, Now Chinese PLA rapidly upgrading its infrastructures along LAC)
  • The harsh weather conditions in the mountains, which can make it difficult to operate effectively.
  • The limited availability of oxygen in high altitudes, which can lead to fatigue and altitude sickness.
  • Uncertainty of Chinese rifles actually serving up to the mark in sub-zero conditions.

Also Read, Operation Chequerboard: Indian Army Averted The 2nd 1962 War

It needs insane mental fortitude, tenacity, a plethora of resources and a beyond-expectation performance of your weapons to actually  dominate your enemy in such freezing conditions. China’s lack of connectivity and infrastructure in warzone mountains is a concerning issue for them. Also nobody but only China knows how well their service rifles will actually save them in these battles. Neither does the nation show any information of the torture testing success results of their guns nor private/civilian gun owners can show them to the world in terms of military content as factory-new Chinese guns are nowhere found in other parts of world.

According to the PLA Daily, the mouthpiece of the People Liberation Army, by an unnamed officer, “Altitude sickness is a common problem that has been affecting troops stationed on the plateau for a long time”. Considering this is true, it is actually a defining factor of China’s indifference and lack of attention to proper recruitment, training and physical length of its troops.

Poor Training and Selection?

China has a more than 2 million strong active military troop size yet raw numbers can be deceptive. In a battle of high stakes, a poorly trained bigger mass is nothing but cards on a table in front of a smaller yet tactically stronger and modernized enemy. Obviously a major threat like China should be and is well-trained, otherwise US won’t even have turned to its face to this nation. The issue lies on how much percentage of the active Chinese troop size is actually trained to their fullest. Starting with a hypothetical point, China has always been in a tensed state due to its bitter geopolitical matters with US, India etc. which are bound to resonate with the average cavalry’s mind, always staying in the mental zone of being battle-ready. According to October 2022 reports of the PLA Daily, Chinese soldiers faced “nervousness, anxiety and fearful emotions” as they undertook unprecedented military activities amid tensions with India along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and with the US over South China Sea and Taiwan. There are also mentions of several regiments underperforming in intense combat trainings and the lack of adaptive qualities. “In our observation, we noticed that the Chinese soldiers were in constant need of medical evacuation and care while being posted at high altitudes and extreme cold which was a first for them. In our assessment, the Chinese were forced to do a faster rotation of troops because the soldiers could not stand long deployment in such extreme conditions,” an anonymous source said. A military superpower like China, a country spending big bucks in multiple aircraft carriers and 5th-gen aircrafts must tackle these issues with first-priority basis.

The army lacks sufficient trained personnel to operate high-tech equipment, according to the South China Morning Post in the PLA Daily. According to reports, the PLA acknowledged a shortage of operators capable of adjusting to newer equipment and rapidly shifting conditions. The research made apparent that China’s fundamental issue is that, despite the country’s relative acceleration of modernization, the ground force is not provided with the necessary personal modern equipment or the training necessary to operate it. Top PLA commanders have not yet passed a basic training exam. This includes Wang Yubing, the vice-captain of a Chinese battleship. One of the many naval men, Yubing, was promoted to vice-captain before completing his training. Zhangye, the vice-captain of the Type 056 corvette, reportedly was unable to complete a critical training assessment, according to an article in the PLA Daily on December 26. There is also the issue of how much a regular military member can realistically handle in terms of training schedule imbalance.

All Chinese nationals must serve in the military, and the practise of conscription is upheld even in the country’s constitution. Military analysts estimate that the PLA relies on 8,00,000 conscripts who must service for two years. Each conscript receives 90 days of training, including 16 days of political indoctrination. This doctrine causes the troops to lose 20 to 35% of their combat power for three to four months each year. All of China’s military propaganda films are creamier than light milk. The PLA experiences challenges with poor training throughout all branches of the army, navy, and air force. The race to modernize has seen China pour money into research and development of modern military equipment, including missiles, warships, drones and fighter jets, all of which have put the rest of the world due to the sheer increase of numbers in almost every defence equipment sector, but will fall through the roof if the baselines are not strengthened.

In the ranks of the Chinese military establishment, there is barely any operational promotion, according to a report from the US National Defence University. In the six years leading up to 2021, the research examined the backgrounds of more than 300 of the PLA’s senior leaders from its five services, including the army, navy, air force, rocket force, and strategic support force. It was discovered that leaders in each service were unlikely to have had operational experience in any branch other than the one in which they started their careers. In other words, a person who begins in one role will have no idea how to function in other roles of his crewmates in case of need. In the event of an impending war, this kind of rigidity in the management structure will prove to be a sobering fact. According to a study by Wuthnow, a senior research fellow at the university’s Centre for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs, operational commanders in particular infrequently have career-expanding experience in logistics, and vice versa. Joel Wuthnow, the report’s author, asserts that the lack of cross-training among the senior commanders of the PLA may expose them to comparable issues.

Another significant distinction was also noted: practically all four-star commanders in the US had operational background. Nearly half in China worked as “professional political commissars.” Xi Jingping is personally involved in some recruitments, which makes the selection process even more surprising. Joel Wuthnow, the author of the aforementioned study, also said that Xi may choose top officers due to his position with China’s Central Military Commission. It noted that Xi rotates top officers geographically within China to prevent them from developing “patronage networks” that might one day pose a threat to his leadership. “All PLA officers are members of the Chinese Communist Party and must have enough political acumen to demonstrate loyalty to Xi and his agenda,” it said. Considering it as a hard truth, yet again it shows China’s zero stance of equality of opinions even in the national protection domain.

The appointment and promotion of PLA officers is based on both their perceived devotion to the CPC and their professional abilities. The Communist Party of China’s (CPC) monopoly is also unnamedly protected by the PLA. Even minor officers are investigated politically before being appointed. The end result is a murky dual-command system that might make it difficult for trained PLA soldiers to conduct successful assaults. In addition to corruption, the PLA exhibits fundamental flaws like an obsession with weaponry, the majority of which is acquired by the navy and air force, a lack of training that mimics actual battle, subpar logistics, and a continual inability to create combined operational capabilities. Lower-level officers and soldiers find it challenging, if not impossible, to take the initiative in combat situations because of the inflexible top-down command structure used by the PLA.

Corruption At Its Core

Since 2012, when Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general secretary Xi Jinping unveiled his divisive anti-corruption drive, cadre corruption in China has drawn considerable media attention. Since then, a number of senior military and governmental figures have been adjudicated corrupt. Numerous officials have departed under peculiar circumstances, and the most recent information that China’s foreign minister, Qin Gang, is still absent is ratcheting up the tension. On June 6, 2023, while Xi was inspecting the Eastern Theatre Command, Wu Guoua, the deputy commander of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force, apparently committed himself and the PLA listed it as the reason of his cerebral haemorrhage. After Wu Guohua passed away, his superior and commander of the PLA Rocket Force, Lieutenant General Li Yuchao, was reported absent from a Chinese military promotion ceremony in late June. Li Yuchao’s disappearance raised the possibility that the Chinese government was looking into him. It was discovered that Li Yuchao had been detained and was the subject of an inquiry. Around the same time, the Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang vanished from public view, sparking increased speculation. Many people tried to make parallels between Qin Gang’s disappearance and the unrest inside the PLA Rocket Force. We Fenghe, a former defence minister, is also being investigated and charged with corruption. Corruption in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been the subject of great attention in the Chinese and international media for several years.

4,024 officers with the rank of lieutenant colonel or higher, including 82 generals, were the focus of an inquiry starting in 2013, according to a PLA Daily report from 2015. As a result, 21 commanders were demoted, 144 were demoted, and 77 were reprimanded. While no information on the number of lower-level officers and enlisted troops participating in corrupt acts has been made public, 16 senior officers were identified as being under investigation in 2014 and their duty positions were disclosed. Bribery and abuse of power have become a frequent issue of in the army ranks. Gu Junshan, the deputy director of the PLA General Logistics Department, was accused of stealing, accepting bribes, misusing money, and abusing his position of authority. Bribery in the recruitment and conscription process raises the possibility that unqualified individuals will join the PLA’s lower ranks. While some of these individuals may be eliminated during induction training, others are more likely to join operational units and cause issues for the noncommissioned officers in charge of the platoon and company grades as well as the officers at those levels.

The arrest of former CSIC Chairman Hu Wenming makes clear that despite ongoing attempts to combat corruption, substantial misconduct still exists among China’s military shipbuilders. An ultimate slap in the face would be dealt by corruption allegations against such a significant man, who oversaw sensitive projects like the Chengdu J-10 and the development of Liaoning and Shandong aircraft carriers. Classified data breaches will always be the main concern. He abruptly left his position as CSIC chairman in August 2019 and went unnoticed until May 12, 2020, when the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), China’s anti-corruption agency, announced his detention for “serious violation of discipline and law.” Xi has promised to continue the anti-corruption campaign, which has resulted in the resignation of 1.5 million party officials, including senior military officers, since 2012. While Xi personally may be entitled to a crackdown, the majority of the issues originate at the local level. A former vice chairman of the CMC named Xu Caihou was detained by Xi in 2014 for taking part in a “cash for ranks” scheme. In 2015, Xi followed up on his decision to oust Xu from the party by purging Guo Boxiong, another former vice chairman of the CMC, on the same grounds. The arrests, according to The Guardian, were unusual because Xu and Guo, who served as the CMC Vice Chairmen and were the two highest-ranking retired officers in the PLA, were the highest-ranking active-duty military members in China at the time of their arrest.

Those Guns Can Kill, Right ? Right ?

  • Norinco Type86S – Reports of jamming issues with Norinco Type 86S rifles were documented in some online forums and reviews, raising concerns about reliability.
  • QBZ-95 – In certain military training exercises, some QBZ-95 rifles experienced malfunctions, leading to discussions about the rifle’s performance.
  • Norinco MAK-90 – Many cases of trigger failures were reported in some Norinco MAK-90 rifles, resulting in safety concerns.
  • NDM-86 – Many users reported accuracy issues with the NDM-86 Chinese-made sniper rifle, leading to discussions about its precision.
  • Some Chinese-made AK-47 variants were criticized for using lower-quality materials in certain components, leading to potential reliability concerns.
  • Jing An JS 9mm – Safety issues were raised in relation to the Jing An JS 9mm pistol, leading to discussions about potential design flaws.

Also Read, A Small Arms Comparison – India or China? Who Takes the Cake?

A retired general from the Indian Army commented on the performance and quality of Chinese weaponry, saying: “The weapon systems manufactured in China are not the greatest in the world. But you can’t allow weapon systems to work poorly, especially in the middle of a battle. Simply put, Chinese weaponry cannot compete with those made in Russia, Israel, France, or the US. He gives the statistic that roughly 50% of the firearms and grenades captured from militants in Kashmir were made in China as an illustration. A top US State Department official stated in November 2019 that foreign nations should purchase American weaponry rather than cheap Chinese weapons that also murder their own military troops. R. Clarke Cooper, US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, informed prospective foreign buyers of US armaments in Washington that China is selling its weapons using low prices, bribes, and predatory financing.

Chinese soldiers in parade wielding their QBZ-195 with no provisional attachments.

The majority of Chinese Ground Forces use the QBZ-95, their standard issue rifle which is actually a bullpup platform. Is it a good gun? Neither India nor the rest of the world seem to care. When it comes to bullpup rifles, names like the Tavor TAR-21, Steyr AUG, Springfield Hellion, Desert Tech MDR, FN F2000 will pop up in a gun guy’s mind and undoubtedly they are among the best in this platform with some real battle-proven stats. Yet the very best have some issues because of the bullpup design. Their compact design and maneuverability advanatge is somehow negated by the inability of making accurate shots in their absolute maximum effective firing range, reloading problem while prone due to the magazine place near the shoulder in a normal ready-position, and in general bullpup rifles have far inferior triggers than ARs. They also don’t have as much customization availability as ARs due to the limited space in the front. Now comes the Chinese QBZ-95 –

  • The QBZ-95 doesn’t have any rail system. So they don’t have to worry about a typical bullpup’s maximum distance accuracy problem. They won’t even see the target far away.
  • No rail means neither any chance of optics nor any other accessories such as infrared lasers/range finders/foregrips etc.
  • They have been found to have terrible two-stage triggers.
  • A modern upgrade featured a Picatinny rail system but the optics once fixed stand 6 inches above the rifle barrel. Such height between the barrel’s zero position and optic reticle will make horrendously inaccurate shots.
  • Serious issues quality control and material-build reliability have been found.
  • It also claims that the primer used by the 5.8-millimeter bullets fails to burn off cleanly when discharged, causing residue to build up that made the gas regulator and piston difficult to remove during a standard 2,000-round maintenance cycle.
  • The residue buildup also supposedly causes pressure within the muzzle to increase, increasing noise, muzzle flash, and risk of accidents.
  • The gun’s safety and fire-selector switch blockings have raised major concerns.
  • Numerous complains have been made by the Chinese army personnel themselves about the problem of its composite polymer cracking in cold conditions. Another instance on why Indian guns will absolutely demolish this absolute laughing stock in the name of a gun.

China have been reportedly thoroughly using their 30-year old 5.8mm standard issue Chinese-origin cartridges in their guns with no upgrades. Their brand new rifle, QBZ-191 has received flak with issues of not-spinning bullets – which to be honest is a humorous issue. Bullets with below-par spin will make it tumble in air and will make keyholes instead of round bullet holes. Also the QBZ-191 has selective fire system with semi-auto and full-auto modes but no burst fire. It is their latest and allegedly most powerful rifle but only a fraction of the big army have been given the gun. Since lack of hardware plagues the ground forces, despite having AR-15-like features and privileges, soldiers aren’t granted any accessories. It has been a seen that among the QBZ-191 using units, in a platoon of 6 using this gun, only one person is actually given the Chinese 3x-8k variable optic. Unlike the QBZ-95, there’s not much info about its problems but if the ‘spinless bullet’ issue is actually a thing in multiple units, it’s better to be called a pea shooter.

A characteristic that is crucial but cannot be compromised to the point of risking collateral damage in one’s own country is China’s reputation as a super-cost-effective actor in the arms value chain. Buyers need to be aware of this. Furthermore, no “developed” nation is on the Chinese arms buyers’ list. There are major gun manufacturers in the US, UK, Germany, Russia, Italy, and France, but neither the US nor NATO, nor any of the Eastern superpowers like India or Japan, have made any arrangements with China. China’s military exports demonstrate that South Asian and African developing nations make up the majority of its clients.

Flaws Beyond The Ground

Nigeria’s military noted a number of technical issues with the F-7 aircraft manufactured in China and delivered starting in 2009. Several people died in collisions or mishaps. Seven of the nine still in operation by 2020 had to be returned to China for extensive maintenance and repair. The military junta in charge of Myanmar discovered that the JF-17 aircraft’s Chinese-made radar is inaccurate and that the plane itself lacks beyond-visual-range missile and aerial interception radar. Shortly after receiving its Chinese-built K-8W aircraft, Bangladesh reported issues shooting the loaded ammunition. According to a story in the Eurasian Times, “At least four Chinese frigates, F-22P commissioned in July 2009, are giving Pakistani Navy officers and men nightmares tasked to keep them afloat in the turbulent waters of the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.” Pakistan, the country that imports the most Chinese military hardware, voiced displeasure with Chinese-made F-22P frigates due to technical problems, engine wear, and subpar performance in general. Pakistan also discovered that the FM90 (N) missile system’s onboard imaging unit had a broken IR17 infrared sensor system and SR-60 radars. The IR17 sensors had to be completely abandoned as a result since the missile system was unable to lock onto targets. Many Chinese products have not undergone combat testing, which makes some consumers unsure of their effectiveness.

Bangladesh has received two antiquated Ming class Type 035G submarines from China, dating from the 1970s. These submarines are in such horrible shape that they have apparently been sitting idle for a long time. Nepal ordered six Chinese-made Y12e and MA60 aircraft for its national airlines, which Bangladesh had previously rejected, but which are now laying idle because they are neither suitable for Nepal’s terrain nor have replacement parts accessible. Nepal’s requests to replace the Chinese have been rejected by them. China’s sales agent declined to ride in the Norinco VN-4 armoured personnel carriers during a test shooting when Kenya purchased them. After moving forward with the purchase in 2016, numerous Kenyan employees are said to have perished in those automobiles.

The devastating condition of Islamabad’s surface-to-air missile systems, which Beijing provided five years ago, is a stark indication that China is failing to meet the needs of Pakistan’s air defence. The China-supplied HQ-16 (LY-80) medium-range surface-to-air missiles have as many as 477 flaws. It dealt Pakistan’s air defence a serious blow. Pakistan has made efforts to strengthen its defences, but these have been in vain. The Chinese corporation sent out a team of professionals in May and June 2021 to deal with the problem and fix the flaws. As a result, nothing was accomplished since the problems were “too extensive to fully address them.”

China is itself suffering with its superbly flawed quality of the indigenous engines which are limiting the capabilities of its massive air force and the 5th gen J-20. China’s difficulties in this field are attributable to a lack of domestic competence more than a lack of resources allocated to the effort. Most of their jets are either limited to the flawed engines or are being run with variants of the Russian Saturn engines.

Equipment Flaws

Despite having a respectable firing capability, Chinese tanks have terrible self-defense. The tank armour has been proven to be too porous to withstand even the most elementary RPGs. Other drawbacks of PLA tanks include China’s reliance on a sizable number of antiquated Type 59Ds and the lack of a satellite navigation display, which forces them to rely on maps like their Russian T-72 counterparts. And because they are all completely out of date and have no modernised modifications, they will all likely lose in battle against contemporary tanks. Lack of expertise in creating these vehicles may be one of the most evident causes. The other reason might be the emphasis on power projection, which must be maintained on a tight budget.

Similar problems plague the ground forces. Chinese armour development reached its pinnacle during the era of complete body armour in ancient China. However, this isn’t a history class, and neither can the Great Wall of China keep people safe from the problems of today. Most of the soldiers are not even wearing Level 1 or Level 2 body armour. China has made almost little progress in developing domestic human armour and only uses kevlar that has been reverse-engineered. Additionally, the troops are not prepared for the night. In addition to the extremely poor quality of the helmets, they lack even the attachment points for night-vision goggles. According to a survey, 10 out of 100 PLA soldiers actually have the googles, whereas 20 have such preparations. The next big thing? Chinese NVGs are digital while the rest of the modern world uses analog goggles. With as inaccurate as the vision capability is along with the brightness problems and very poor glass quality, they have even been compared to night vision mode of regular digital cameras from Chinese NVGs have latency delays which are supper ineffective for combat roles and even gets fogged up. Moreover they don’t even equipment such as IR lasers, range finders, PEQ-15s etc. which are very crucial for dusk and night operations. Well they must have some sorts of arrangements otherwise there would have no sense of China actually able to carry out night drills and spec ops trainings but the issue is very real. The sheer lack of modernized equipment is nothing but a Bubonic plague issue in China’s inventory.

PLA’s special operations force in urban warfare training
India’s MARCOS performing a simulated VBSS exercise aboard MV Ocean Valor.

While US always reigns supreme in terms of warfare equipment resources and quality, it is clearly evident that how much China lacks in equipment allocation and how better India holds this position with its proper training, battle-winning provisions and history of multilateral exercises.


Although cloaked in secret, China is notorious for being involved in numerous nations’ data breaches. It has been discovered that linkages to these cyberattacks for information theft and other offences have reached officials in the Ministry of State Security, the Ministry of Public Security, the PLA management, and other levels. According to a 2017 article in American Foreign Policy, there may be up to 100,000 people participating in cybercrimes involving sensitive data. Around 200 Japanese businesses and research institutions, including JAXA (the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), allegedly came under cyberattack orders from the Chinese military in April 2021, according to a Japanese report. Australia’s main intelligence agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, allegedly had its headquarters’ blueprints stolen by China in May 2013, according to ABC News. Although the projects targeted have been kept secret, India has often accused China of utilising Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) botnets in cyberwarfare.

One of the best American defence companies, Northrop Grumman, has accused China of stealing knowledge from its servers and developing weapons as effective as the B2-Spirit stealth bomber. A US grand jury indicted five PLA Unit 61398 personnel in May 2014 on suspicion of stealing sensitive corporate data from American businesses and installing malware on those businesses’ computers. A US federal grand jury indicted four People’s Liberation Army of China personnel in February 2020 for the 2017 Equifax breach. According to the FBI’s official Twitter account, “145 million Americans” were victims of “one of the largest thefts of personally identifiable information by state-sponsored hackers ever recorded.” Chinese hackers have allegedly targeted US military bases on Guam, according to Microsoft and other Western espionage agencies. While China consistently denies the charges or chooses to remain silent, the threat of information theft from China is quite serious and unquestionably plays a significant role in their success because China has long been regarded as the world leader in reverse engineering.

Clones? Or Are They Really Different?

Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II (top), Chengdu J-20 Mighty Dragon (bottom)

China was suspected of using the debris for its own study after the F-117 Nighthawk, the first stealth aircraft in the world, was accidentally shot down during the Kosovo War. Adm. Davor Domazet-Loso, the military chief of staff of Croatia at the time, stated, “At the time, our intelligence reports told of Chinese agents criss-crossing the area where the F-117 disintegrated, buying up parts of the plane from local farmers.” Later, he acknowledged that agents from China had taken pieces of the destroyed F-117 stealth fighter in 1999. The BBC quoted him as saying, “A windfall like an F-117 would be gold dust in that regard – just as an intelligence-sharing relationship” and that “any modernising military worth its salt would examine anything of that nature extremely closely.” At the time, the Chinese and Serbian military intelligence had a close relationship. According to The Washington Post newspaper, the U.S. Defence Science Board, an advisory body for the Pentagon, revealed in 2013 that Chinese hackers had gained access to the blueprints for nearly two dozen complex U.S. military systems. They comprised the PAC-3 Patriot missile, the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, the Aegis system of the US Navy, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system of the US Army, and two ballistic missile defence systems. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and China’s Shenyang J-31 Gyrfalcon are two examples of American weaponry and vehicles that the USNI has identified as having been duplicated in China. The Dongfeng EQ2050 Brave Soldier vehicle and the Humvee. China’s SVU-200 Flying Tiger and the unmanned helicopter MQ-8 Fire Scout. The Chinese Lijian Sharp Sword unmanned combat air vehicle and the X-47B UCAV. The Hongjian-12 Red Arrow and the FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile from China. Another illustration is the drone that looks a lot like the Reaper, the Cai Hong 4 Rainbow.

“You cannot say it’s just a copy,” Zhang Xinguo, deputy president of the Chinese state-owned aircraft manufacturer AVIC, said of the J-11B fighter jet, which resembles the Su-27 fighter jet from Russia. “Cell phones all resemble one another. But technology is advancing at a rapid pace. Everything within cannot be the same, however how similar it may appear. Are they actually coincidental, though? Michael Raska, a research fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies in Singapore, gave a concrete illustration, stating that the HQ-6A launchers are conceptually based on the Italian Alenia Aspide missile, which is based on the US RIM-7E/F Sparrow. China has been charged by the United States with massive cyber theft of American technology and weaponry on numerous occasions in recent years. According to American defence contractors, the J-31 stealth fighter from China is mostly built using F-35 technology that was allegedly stolen. In 2015, then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated, “This is a case alleging economic espionage by members of the Chinese military… to benefit state-owned companies and other interests in China.” And it appears that all of the Chinese cybercrimes and other government server hacks have enabled them to amass a terrifying arsenal for themselves.

Also Read, From Censorship to Concentration Camps: Uncovering China

The Galwan Valley Clash

Twenty members of the Indian Army, including a commanding officer (CO), were killed in a bloody battle with Chinese troops in June 2020 in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh. Since the 1967 confrontations in Nathu La, where over 300 Chinese forces and over 80 Indian soldiers died, this was the largest battle between the two military. On a hillside with a steep drop into the Galwan River, fights started. According to accounts, numerous Indian soldiers were reported to have fallen into the river during the fighting as the conflicts quickly worsened. An unarmed patrol team of the Indian Army, under the command of Colonel Santosh Babu of the 16 Bihar Regiment, set out to speak with the Chinese side as the PLA troops remained in place. Chinese troops opened fire first, severely wounding the CO, which was followed by over three hours of stone-throwing, use of metal clubs, and fistfights between the two sides. In addition to the 20 horrifying deaths, China also imprisoned 10 Indian soldiers, including 4 officers, until June 18, 2020, when they were freed. Unknown but likely between 35 and 45 Chinese soldiers lost their lives in the same battles. China remained mute while India made a lot of noise about this problem. Information on the conflict was censored by China’s own media outlets. The Central Military Commission of China announced on February 19, 2021 that four of its soldiers had received posthumous awards for their deeds during the June 2020 battle with India at Galwan. In a statement released on June 18, India’s minister of external affairs claimed that China had “unilaterally tried to change the status quo” and that the violence had been “premeditated and planned”. The same day, the Chinese PLA had “invaded” the “contested area” between India and China, according to the United States Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. China didn’t respond to the US’s remarks, and subsequently a representative shut it down, calling it “misinformation.” In a show of rubbish Chinese morality, India lifted the restriction of firearms use in LAC the following week of the incident. 

The memorial built in the remembrance of the Galwan Valley bravehearts.

Super Soldiers ??

The People’s Liberation Army was the subject of “human testing” by China, according to U.S. intelligence, in an effort to create warriors with “biologically enhanced capabilities.” The bombshell assertion was part of a lengthy op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by the director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, in which he argued that China is the biggest threat to American national security. However, conducting such live experiments on active soldiers would be one of the worst crimes imaginable in the area of national defence. Over the years, many film and TV directors have been fascinated by the idea of enhancing regular humans engaged in law enforcement or military operations. Although there is no tangible evidence supporting these claims, a troubling assertion like this—especially one coming from the CIA—certainly raises questions. On a scale of 1 to 10, the thought of China using genetically engineered soldiers would rate at 5, which is more realistic. There is no limiting what China can accomplish given that it lacks the means to equip even half of a battalion with a properly customised rifle and night vision equipment yet has the incredible reverse-engineering skills to create 5th generation stealth jets and aircraft carriers. China has become even more secretive than Russia and North Korea because to the lack of any ethical obligations or requirements for public disclosure of any information.

The Uyghur Issue

Under the leadership of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping, the Chinese government began imprisoning approximately one million Turkic Muslims in internment camps in 2014. China’s government has caused its face to burn once more with horrible genocides, which are regarded as the largest-scale incarceration of ethnic and religious minorities since the Second World War. More than 60,000 mosques and homes were demolished, and hundreds of thousands of kids were taken away from their families and placed in “boarding schools.” Uyghurs have been arbitrarily imprisoned in state-sponsored internment camps, and government policies have included forced labour, political indoctrination, severe mistreatment, forced sterilisation, forced contraception, and forced abortion.

Uyghur concentration camps

Also Read, Uyghur Genocide: The Cruel Face Of China

Native to Xinjiang, Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group.  Xinjiang is claimed by both the Uyghurs and the government, which is largely Han. Uyghurs demanded greater autonomy, which sparked an ethnic war marked by resistance and periodic violence. The situation was made unbearably worse by Xi Jingping’s interception. There have been allegations of mass detentions without due process or legal counsel in “re-education camps” or “vocational training centres.” Between tens of thousands and more than a million Uyghurs are thought to have been arrested, according to estimates. There have been claims of Uyghurs being forced to work in a variety of fields, including as cotton farming, textile manufacturing, and manufacturing. According to reports, detainees are frequently forced to perform exploitative tasks. According to reports, forcible sterilisations and abortions may have been performed on Uyghur women as part of population control measures. There are concerns about cultural assimilation because the use of the Uyghur language is prohibited in formal settings and in education. According to reports, detentions and forced labour programmes have split up Uyghur families, causing the dissolution of family bonds. Approximately 1 million Uyghurs were detained as a result of all the terrible incidents. According to statistics from the Chinese government, the birth rates in the primarily Uyghur districts of Hotan and Kashgar decreased by more than 60% between 2015 and 2018. The birth rate across the board fell by 9.69% during that time. In Xinjiang, birth rates decreased by roughly a third in 2018, although Chinese authorities disputed accusations of forced sterilisation and genocide. Xinjiang experienced a further 24% decline in birth rates in 2019 compared to a 4.2% national decline.

Darker Crimes

China was extremely careful about limiting the release of sensitive information following the Uyghur Genocides, to start. Police launched a huge crackdown during protests in response to the violence, leading to thousands of detentions or disappearances. For almost ten months, all of Xinjiang was denied internet connection in order to control the transmission of information. Beijing, on the other hand, asserts that its operations in Xinjiang are dedicated to countering terrorism and countering extremism and denies arbitrarily arresting or detaining residents based on their ethnicity or religion. What little is known about what takes on inside hints to systematic brainwashing as well as physical and psychological torture. One former prisoner claimed she was stripped of her clothing and had her head shaved, while another claimed he attempted suicide by hitting his head against a wall. Many people simply vanish in strange circumstances. Governmental cover-ups are a common tactic for dealing with issues. When their parents are taken into custody, children are given over to the state, where some claim that “they are locked up like farm animals” in supposed orphanages.

Another war crime occurred in 1994 when People’s Liberation Army officer First Lieutenant Tian Mingjian went on a shooting spree and used a Type-81 assault weapon to kill 24–29 civilians and military members while injuring 80 others. After a protracted, victim-filled carnage known as the Tian Mingjian mass shooting or the Jian’guo Gate mass shooting, the perpetrator eventually saw his life flash before his eyes when a sniper shot and killed him. According to reports, Tian argued with his superiors about the fact that they made his wife undergo an abortion while she was carrying their second child in order to comply with China’s one-child policy.

The PLA participated in the indiscriminate gunfire on spectators, protesters, and workers during the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations. In and around Tiananmen Square, hundreds to thousands of people were murdered and thousands more were injured.

Even though many public viewpoints are repressed, China’s One Child Policy is one of the most divisive and controversial topics. A pregnant lady in China was imprisoned, assaulted, and coerced into having an abortion just one month before her due date in 2010 because the child would have exceeded the one-child restriction for the nation. Authorities in Shaanxi province pulled a pregnant woman to a hospital in 2012 and forced her to have an abortion because she couldn’t afford the $6,300 fee imposed for having a second child. Many of these social atrocities are perpetrated even by Chinese military personnel.

Foreign delegates have frequently been “honey trapped” by Chinese military spies in order to gather intelligence. One of China’s various espionage tools is sex espionage, which Beijing prefers to refer to as “Meiren Ji,” which translates to “the beautiful person plan.” A Chinese honeytrap spy sought inside knowledge of the British intelligence service MI6 in 2022 by targeting a British Army commander. Because it has become a favourite tool for Chinese espionage and influence operations, LinkedIn—the only American social media platform that is not blocked in China—is allowed to operate there. William Evanina, the director of the National Counter-Intelligence and Security Centre, has issued a warning about Chinese espionage via phoney LinkedIn profiles. These are frequently attractive women who have attractive profile pictures—an electronic updating of the Cold War’s honey traps for women. Such claims have been rejected by a spokeswoman for the Chinese government as “complete hearsay and unfounded.”

When you get down to the nitty-gritty, China actually has a dark presence. It actually makes sense why China doesn’t end up as a dream country in any sane person’s mind. From corrupt yet absolute laws of the government where the public is forced to turn a blind eye to the big bucks of defence expenditure shredding more on the numbers while compromising the average infantryman’s safety.


Subhodip Das

An Average Mechanical Engineering student from Jadavpur University, Kolkata who dreams of having a fully customized AR-15 draped on the wall....very childish ain't it ! Well apart from that, Art is the one absolute thing I practically live for.

One Comment

  1. Hello Subhodip, Loved reading this detailed article and appreciate all your research on this topic. Thank you

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