mandag 4. oktober 2021

Xi’s army: from ‘hiding and biding’ to building China’s dream

When Covid-19 swept across Iran last March, killing more than 1,000 people including the senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, it was the Chinese military that Tehran turned to for help. On 19 March 2020, batch loads of testing kits, PPE and face masks arrived in the Iranian capital.

In February this year, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) began to donate Covid-19 vaccines to counterparts overseas. The Cambodia armed forces have received two batches of 300,000 vaccines; Sierra Leone’s army was given 40,000 doses; United Nations peacekeeping forces secured 300,000.

The million-strong PLA proudly publicised its accomplishment, trumpeting it as the latest example of the army helping China to become a “responsible stakeholder”. The defence ministry website promoting the PLA’s activities in Sierra Leone showed the flags of the two countries with the slogan: “Stormy seas or calm waters, we sail together.” In Zimbabwe, it was: “In tough times, we watch out for each other.” For Rwanda: “The destiny of two fingers is to live together.”