People's Liberation Army

Chinese People's Liberation Army
China Emblem PLA.svg
Emblem of the People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg
Flag of the People's Liberation Army
The characters are "8 1", referencing August 1.
"Serve the People"
Founded1 August 1927 (Nanchang uprising)
Current form15 August 1945
Service branches PLA Ground Force
PLA Navy
PLA Air Force
PLA Rocket Force
PLA Strategic Support Force
HeadquartersCentral Military Commission, Beijing
Chairman of the
Central Military Commission
China Xi Jinping (General Secretary and President)
1st-ranked Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission Air Force General Xu Qiliang
2nd-ranked Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission General Zhang Youxia
Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe
Chief of the Joint Staff Department General Li Zuocheng
Military age20+
ConscriptionCompulsory by law, but usually not enforced
Active personnel2,035,000 (2018)[1] (ranked 1st)
Reserve personnel510,000 (2018)[1]
Budget$175 billion (2018)[2][3] (ranked 2nd)
Percent of GDP1.5% (2018)[4][5]
Domestic suppliers
Foreign suppliers Russia
 United States
 United Kingdom
Related articles
HistoryHistory of the PLA
Modernization of the PLA
Historical Chinese wars and battles
Military engagements
RanksArmy ranks
Navy ranks
Air force ranks
Chinese People's Liberation Army
Simplified Chinese中国人民解放军
Traditional Chinese中國人民解放軍
Literal meaning"China People Liberation Army"
Part of a series on the
Politics of China

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the armed forces of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Communist Party of China (CPC). The PLA consists of five professional service branches: the Ground Force, Navy, Air Force, Rocket Force, and the Strategic Support Force. Units around the country are assigned to one of five Theater commands by geographical location. The PLA is the world's largest military force and constitutes the second largest defence budget in the world. It is one of the fastest modernising military power in the world and has been termed as a potential military superpower, with significant regional defense and rising global power projection capabilities.[7][8][9][1][10][11][12][13] It is also the third largest arms exporter in the world.

The PLA is under the command of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the CPC. It is legally obliged to follow the principle of civilian control of the military, although in practical terms this principle has been implemented in such a way as to ensure the PLA is under the absolute control of the Communist Party of China. Its commander in chief is the Chairman of the Central Military Commission (usually the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China). The Ministry of National Defense, which operates under the State Council, does not exercise any authority over the PLA and is far less powerful than the CMC.

Military service is compulsory by law; however, compulsory military service in China has never been enforced due to large numbers of military and paramilitary personnel. In times of national emergency, the People's Armed Police and the People's Liberation Army militia act as a reserve and support element for the PLAGF.

Mission statement

Former CMC chairman Hu Jintao had defined the missions of the PLA as:[14]

  • To consolidate the ruling status of the Communist Party
  • To ensure China's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and domestic security to continue national development
  • To safeguard China's national interests
  • To help maintain world peace
Other Languages
Bahasa Indonesia: Tentara Pembebasan Rakyat
Simple English: People's Liberation Army