August 1 marked the 90th founding anniversary of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), an enigma to many foreigners, thanks to the foreign media hype about the supposed military threat posed by a rising China.
As a matter of fact, the PLA's mandate is maintaining peace. It has a historical record of safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests as well as maintaining world peace and promoting global progress.
Led by the Communist Party of China (CPC), the PLA has greatly contributed to Chinese people's liberation, socialist modernization drive and reform. It now provides support for building a moderately prosperous society and realizing the vision of Chinese rejuvenation.
With its mandate including safeguarding regional and world peace, the PLA also shoulders the responsibility of coping with emergencies and military threats to protect airspace and territorial water sovereignty and security. It also participates in disaster relief, security and economic and social construction. The PLA has always been in the frontline of rescue and relief operations in natural disasters like earthquakes and floods.
It also actively participates in the peacekeeping operations of the United Nations. Since sending the first military observers to the UN peacekeeping forces in 1990, it has dispatched more than 4,100 military personnel to 14 countries and regions to take part in UN peacekeeping work. Six Chinese peacekeepers died in the line of duty in the past 16 years. Of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, China has contributed the largest number of troops to UN peacekeeping missions.
The PLA forces are guided by the principle of active defense, which is the basic military strategic doctrine of the CPC. This indicates the PLA will never start a war but will not hesitate to safeguard China's interests in the face of an attack.
Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, the PLA has never provoked a war. But it is not afraid to make sacrifices to fight back any invasion, which is why it has won people's trust. The reason the PLA constantly updates its weapons and equipment is to improve its combativeness because as the saying goes, only an army capable of fighting can end the war.