In the People's Republic of China, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is an integrated part of the country's political structure.
In the People's Republic of China, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is an integrated part of the country's political structure. Its members undergo political as well as military training, and a high standard is demanded of entrants.
The training ground of the 196th Infantry Division of the PLA is located southeast of Peking. The basic military training is similar to that of any other army in the world, but in accordance with Chairman Mao's teachings, the 196th division tries to be self-sufficient--producing its own food and everyday needs.
The 196th division has fought in three wars--against the Japanese, against the forces of Chiang Kai-shek, and against the Americans in Korea. A National Broadcasting Company of America camera crew was at a training session on Wednesday (23 February). Reporter Herbert Kaplow sent an English commentary with the film, which may be used if required. A transcript of this appears below.
SYNOPSIS: At a camp southeast of Peking, the 196th infantry Division of the People's Liberation Army of the People's Republic of China trains. This division has fought in three wars--against the Japanese, against Chiang Kai-shek's forces, and against the Americans in Korea. The basic military training is much like that of any army, but this army does more than just fire guns and throw hand grenades. In accordance with the teachings of Chairman Mao Tec-tung, it tries to be completely self-reliant.
It produces its own food, such as soya beans into been curry, raises its own livestock, and mends its own clothes and shoes. The 196th Division even has its own pharmaceutical plant, capable of looking after the medical requirements of the officers and men. There is heavy emphasis placed on unity within the army. The 196th's Deputy Commander explained this through an interpreter on Wednesday.
The People's Liberation Army is a political force. Its members receive political as well as tactical training. The favourite form of teaching is entertainment--patriotic songs or plays. The People's Liberation Army is an integrated part of the political structure of the country, and there are many who feel that the successors to Chairman Mao Tse-tung and Premier Chou En-lai could come from the army. Observers say if this is so, the successors will be dedicated Communists.