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Long march and unending victories

By Mahbubur Rahman | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-01 09:34

Aug 1 is Army Day in the People's Republic of China. The People's Liberation Army was founded on this day in 1927 through a bloody uprising in Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi province. The PLA has undergone a long evolutionary process since then. And the history of China's revolution is the history of the Communist Party of China and the People's Liberation of Army, the vanguards of the revolution. Modern China, the CPC and the PLA are synonymous.

The PLA has its genesis in the Red Army. It took different names at different times and in different theatres of operation, such as the New Fourth Route Army and the Eighth Route Army, all of which combined to form the PLA. The PLA encompasses all the organs and elements of China's armed forces - the army, navy, air force and the Second Artillery.

The Red Army, in course of its guerilla warfare, undertook the historic Long March to withdraw from the battlefront to thwart the Kuomintang's design of annihilating the communists. The epic Long March (changzheng) covered more than 10,000 kilometers, fighting the enemy all the way from the mountains of Jinggangshan in Jiangxi to the plains of Yan'an in Shaanxi province. It crossed dense forests, marshes, grasslands, narrow valleys, steep gorges and snowcapped mountains on its path, fighting guerilla battles all the way.

This great army was led by great commanders like Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De, Chen Yi, Peng Dehuai, He Long, Nie Rongzhen, Ye Jianying and Liu Bocheng. I would like to pay my profound tribute to the great warriors of the Long March, many of whom I had the opportunity to meet and interact with.

After the founding of New China, the PLA has been pursuing modernization to develop into an efficient, high-tech force in order to continue safeguarding the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. And to maintain world peace, the PLA has been participating in UN international peacekeeping missions.

True to its name, the PLA has maintained its people's military character by following what Mao Zedong said - the army is more like the fish and people are more like the water in a river. This has been the ethos of the PLA and the essence of China's civil-military relationship. It has never been isolated from the people, and has played a dominant role in national reconstruction and rescue and relief operations in the aftermath of natural disasters like floods, cyclones, tornadoes, droughts and earthquakes.

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