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Anniversary 93: Taking The Measure of The PLA

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I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn and here’s what I’m watching: the People’s Liberation Army, the PLA, on its 93rd anniversary, taking its measure over the past year. But how to tell its multifaceted story in four minutes? I’m going to exemplify the PLA’s year by highlighting two events – just two. The first, in January, was the PLA Navy commissioning its largest and most advanced surface warship, the Nanchang guided-missile destroyer. The second, in February, was the PLA Army’s rapid mobilization to fight the novel coronavirus.

Experts say China’s first 10,000-ton-class, Type 055 destroyer, the most powerful surface combatant in China’s navy (other than aircraft carriers), marks the navy’s leap from third to fourth generation. It is very versatile: it can accompany aircraft carriers in battle groups and can lead task groups in conducting a wide range of missions. The warship’s arsenal includes 112 vertical-launch missile cells capable of launching surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, land-attack missiles, and anti-submarine missiles. Observers say its commissioning reflects China’s deep blue-water strategy to safeguard, as they say, China’s sovereignty security and overseas interests.

When China’s senior leadership, led by President Xi Jinping, learned of the human-to-human transmission, soon after Xi’s directive to the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on January 20, Wuhan was put into lockdown and the PLA was called upon “to shoulder its responsibility” in the country’s uphill battle to control the outbreak. The PLA promptly dispatched elite forces to the frontline. Its Joint Logistic Support Force, which oversees vast resources and supplies in the PLA’s five Theater Commands, purchased 16 kinds of anti-epidemic and medical materials and set up a steady supply chain.

The PLA Central Theater Command General Hospital sent 66 doctors to two civilian hospitals in Wuhan; 450 PLA medics were transported from three cities; and three Theater Commands shipped medical gear, including 200,000 masks and 10,000 sets of protective clothing.

On February 1 and 2, the PLA sent 950 medics, some of whom had prior epidemic experience with SARS and Ebola; they were selected from hospitals in all five Theater Commands and transported to Wuhan by rail, bus and air, including the PLA’s Y-20 heavy transport aircraft. The 1,000-bed Huoshenshan hospital, famously constructed in 10 days, was turned over to the PLA, which provided 1,400 medical personnel, 950 from PLA hospitals and 450 from PLA medical universities.

In mid-February, the PLA brought in an additional 2,600 medical personnel from all PLA’s services, drawn from 19 cities. In total, the PLA brought more than 4,000 military medics to Wuhan, along with tons of critical medical supplies for the almost two-month long battle.

By early March, the PLA had operated 30 flights to move medics and medical necessities from across the nation, and ran a transportation support team of 130 trucks to help provide daily necessities to the epidemic-stricken region.

The PLA guided-missile destroyer represents China’s growing military strength, and will focus on contentious, overlapping claims in the South and East China Seas. The PLA deployment to fight COVID-19 expresses China’s priority to protect the health of its citizens and its epidemic-control experience may also help other countries contend with contagion. In its 93rd year, two sides of the same PLA coin.

I’m watching both.

Cameraman: Morgan Campagnon

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The War in the Shadows: Challenges of Fighting Terrorism in Xinjiang | Trailer

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Challenges Of Fighting Terrorism In Xinjiang: The Black Hands

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For years, extremists in and out of Xinjiang have turned to the internet to spread their separatist ideologies. Recruitment and propaganda videos, including some that taught how to make weapons such as explosives, were being uploaded online. To counter this threat, Xinjiang’s internet guardians have been actively scanning the internet for suspicious materials and activities.

This is one of many stories in CGTN’s exclusive documentary “The war in the shadows: Challenges of fighting terrorism in Xinjiang.” Watch the full documentary here.

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The War In The Shadows: Challenges Of Fighting Terrorism In Xinjiang

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Xinjiang, in the far western land of China, hosted one of the world’s first and most important trade routes known as the Silk Road, which linked ancient Chinese civilization to the West through the Eurasian continent.

The land of fortune, however, has not always enjoyed tranquility. Thousands of terrorist attacks from 1990 through 2016 killed large numbers of innocent people and hundreds of police officers. Horrific stabbings and bombings wrecked the land, leaving its people in shock, grief and panic. The damage was incalculable while stability in the region quickly deteriorated. Authorities have been trying hard to restore peace to this land.

In CGTN’s first three documentaries on fighting terrorism in Xinjiang, we presented never-before-seen footage documenting the frightening tragedies in Xinjiang and the resilience of its people.

The fourth exposé “The war in the shadows: Challenges of fighting terrorism in Xinjiang” – the last of the tetralogy – exposes the extremist thinking and the challenges facing China’s efforts to tackle terrorism inside and outside Xinjiang.

It gives answers to these questions: Why has violent terrorism continued to plague Xinjiang? For those who were once known as “Two-faced people” among the legal and political elites in Xinjiang, how much damage have they done to anti-terrorism efforts in the region? How come poisonous education materials alleging ethnic victimization and “Turkic heroes” have been used for 13 years in primary and middle schools? Why must we stop the invisible hand of foreign advocacy abetting violent terrorism infiltrating our country?

The documentary reveals the methods used by extremist and separatist forces including the “Two-faced people” among the region’s high-ranking officials, as well as how music and videos advocating violent terrorism and inciting ethnic hatred penetrated the region. Plus, it also tells of the very hardship police officers have been mired in for decades.

Over the past four years, violence has largely been contained, giving way to rapid urbanization and economic growth. Safety and tranquility never come easy. But it’s only a preliminary victory in China’s fight against terrorism.

The documentary is 55 minutes long and consists of four parts: “The network,” “Enemies within,” “The textbooks,” and “The black hands.”

We present you with the first three documentaries — each under an hour — below.

Watch: Fighting terrorism in Xinjiang

Watch: The black hand — ETIM and terrorism in Xinjiang

Watch: Tianshan: Still standing – Memories of fighting terrorism in Xinjiang

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