What are the military regions of China

70 years of the People's Republic China's road to superpower

Cannons, combat bombers and bazookas: in the "Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution" in Beijing, visitors experience a journey through time through Chinese military history. After extensive renovation, the museum reopened at the beginning of the year - a building from 1959, built in the style of socialist classicism. The 64-year-old Zhang Pinghe, a tourist from Shanxi Province, walks visibly impressed across the marble floor of the huge museum halls. He says:

"During the anti-fascist liberation war and the anti-Japanese war, the Chinese military was still backward. Most of the rifles and weapons were of foreign production. Now China is highly developed. All over the world, the Chinese military is strong and competitive."

In the past ten years, Chinese military spending has increased by over 80 percent. China's state and party leader Xi Jinping is investing more than any of his predecessors in the People's Liberation Army. For him, a strong military is a key element in the modernization of China. The goal is clear: by the 100th birthday of the People's Republic in 2049, China is to become a military superpower. "Our troops follow the sun," says the text of this hymn by the Chinese People's Liberation Army. At the moment, the troops are mainly following President Xi Jinping, who has made himself Commander in Chief of the armed forces. At the beginning of 2016, he ordered the Chinese military to undergo the largest structural reform since the 1950s.

Global ambitions

The seven military regions of the People's Republic were restructured into five strategic zones. All are subordinate to a generic command center for army, navy, air force and missile units. The goal: away from the focus of national defense towards mobile, integrated and globally deployable armed forces. The priority is no longer to protect the national borders on the ground. The navy and air force, on the other hand, have gained in importance. China has learned from abroad, says Macau independent military expert and publicist Wong Tong:

"For years the high-tech wars abroad have been observed. China has also recognized the importance of the navy. 70 percent of the earth's surface is water; there are many international waters. China now attaches the highest importance to the navy, just like the US and Great Britain. That will also be the case in the future. "

Over the past 30 years, China has systematically built up its own military and defense industry, and is developing and producing more and more weapons itself - including more complex weapon systems. Gone are the days when China was the largest arms importer, says military expert Wong Tong:

"China has developed from an arms importer to an arms exporter. In the past, the Chinese industry was not in a position to supply the country with arms, especially not for export. Now China is also producing military equipment specifically for the country Export. That is a substantial difference from before. "

Armaments as an economic factor

China now sells almost everything. No longer just hand grenades or machine guns, but also rockets, radar systems and military drones. China's arms industry has learned a lot, initially mainly through plagiarism. China is also currently building a third aircraft carrier. This should be much more modern than its two predecessors, which are still of Soviet design. The construction of our own aircraft carrier, developed, designed and manufactured in China, is considered to be the core of the modernization of the Chinese military.

A model of the first Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning has also been in the Beijing Military Museum since the renovation. People here are no longer just proud of military history, but also of the present. However, there is one thing that experts agree on: China's military combat strength is difficult to assess. China has had no war experience for four decades. The country fought its last war with Vietnam in 1979. Regardless, for politics professor Jin Canrong, the Chinese rise to a military superpower cannot be stopped. Jin Canrong:

"The world will in future have two superpowers and several strong countries behind them. The two superpowers will be China and the USA. China has very large production capacities. We are currently only using 15 percent of it. Our technology is also very good. At the great military parade on October 1st you will see something very impressive. "

70 years ago, on October 1, 1949, revolutionary leader Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic. 70 years later, China is celebrating the national holiday with a gigantic military parade in Beijing. A weapons show "Made in China" that has never been seen on this scale. As a rising global military power, China shows the world how modern its own military is. Because you can only become a superpower with military strength.