- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Inside China: PLA center stage in quake relief
Question of the Day
What was presumed to be an earthquake relief operation led by civilians quickly became an all-out campaign by the People’s Liberation Army to show off its mobilization capability and high-tech weapons with an over-the-top propaganda theme — “The PLA Loves The People.”
A 7.0-magnitude earthquake Saturday struck the city of Ya’an in the foothills of the Himalayas. Nearly 200 people were killed and about 1,500 remain hospitalized.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang rushed to the province of Sichuan within hours of the quake to inspect the damage and organize relief efforts.
But the world’s largest army — with 2.3 million troops — quickly upstaged the premier and civilian disaster relief agencies by organizing a spectacular show of force.
Within the first hour after the quake, the Chengdu Military Regional Command, one of the seven regional headquarters in charge of military affairs for the country’s southwestern provinces, dispatched 2,000 troops in trucks to the quake’s epicenter.
Within one day after the quake, more than 10,000 troops were ordered into the area to conduct door-to-door search-and-rescue, providing an impressive display of the army’s long-range transport capabilities.
On the second day after the quake, another 8,000 troops were sent in to direct relief operations.
It soon became apparent that the military service branches were competing to upstage each other.
One day after the quake, air force chief Gen. Ma Xiaotian flew to the remote city with a sizable entourage. He offered rapid airlift support for troops from other branches of the military.
He also managed to commandeer the Chinese satellite agencies loosely under his command and took over five military satellites to provide real-time monitoring and surveillance for the ground troops in the Ya’an area.
The state news agency Xinhua reported that China’s Beidou global positioning system, operated by the military’s General Staff in conjunction with the air force, also took part in the relief effort.
Not to be outdone, the navy announced its efforts. Within hours of the quake, a navy’s classified surveillance plane — code-named “Certificate of Merit” and loaded with hush-hush remote sensors — was sent into the quake-stricken area to provide a damage assessment and other information to analysts at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Xinhua reported that the mini-drones scanned the earthquake area from at least 12 angles using live video transmitted from the epicenter.
The ground troops also dispatched at least 48 transport helicopters to move troops and the wounded. Many of the helicopters are Russian-made Mi-171 transports with heavy-lifting VK-2500 engines that make the aircraft suitable for high-altitude-terrain operations.
About the Author
Miles Yu’s column appears Fridays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TWT Video Picks
By Michael Widlanski
Leveling the battlefield to aid terrorists enables evil to fight on
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Cutler wins endorsement from gun control group
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Man says he shot burglar who said she was pregnant
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq