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PLA Turns 95: What Chinese Communist Party Demands From it to be a World-Class Force



Formed in 1927 during the Nanchang uprising as an armed wing of the Chinese Communist Party, the PLA has today become a force to reckon with in the Indo-Pacific region.


The People’s Republic of China (PRC) celebrated the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) 95th founding anniversary on 1 August. Formed in 1927 during the Nanchang uprising as an armed wing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the PLA has today become a force to reckon with in the Indo-Pacific region. It is the world’s largest armed force with around 2.03 million active and 510,000 reserve personnel. Its current Chairman, Xi Jinping, who is also China’s President and the CCP’s General Secretary, in 2017, demanded the PLA to be a world-class force by 2049 — a term yet to be defined by him. The best guess is that the Chinese armed forces would be at par with the US, British, French, Russian and even Indian armed forces in some aspects.

It has been over five years since Xi used this term, and recent speeches by the CMC leaders, a few Chinese language publications, China’s doctrinal writings, and analysis by Western scholars help us partially understand what China is trying to achieve with the PLA. Here are three things that the CCP wants the PLA to develop at 95 as it aims to achieve a world-class armed forces status by 2049. First, on 7 November 2020, the CMC released a new “Outline of Joint Operations for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (Trial).”


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