China’s state propaganda outlets published photos and videos of what they called “real combat scenario” training of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Wednesday, alongside articles warning that tensions between Iran and America could lead to a new world war.
The state propaganda newspaper Global Times revealed that the PLA, the Chinese military, had “welcomed the new year of 2020 by conducting training for real combat scenarios.” Dictator Xi Jinping reportedly ordered the military to modify military training to make it more realistic in anticipation, presumably, of upcoming military attacks.
The exercises are legally the result of a “mobilization order” Xi signed at the beginning of the new year.
“[T]he order stressed strengthening military training for real combat conditions. It also asked the armed forces to maintain a high level of readiness and step up emergency and combat training,” the Global Times reported, essentially making military exercises more lifelike.
The article then went on to highlight the exercises of several PLA units in northern, southern, and central China.
Of particular note were the military exercises of the PLA’s garrison in Hong Kong, where millions of residents have taken the streets for peaceful assemblies against the communist regime.
“The 1.5-minute video shows the troop’s training courses in shooting, flying and other military strategies,” the Times noted. It did not elaborate on why military preparedness in Hong Kong would be of particular concern currently, though Xi himself and senior communist officials have threatened to use force to keep Hong Kong from escaping the grasp of communist Beijing.
“Anyone who attempts to split any region from China will perish, with their bodies smashed and bones ground to powder,” Xi said in October.
Every PLA force practiced shooting targets this week, the Global Times reported.
“Special forces ran professional training, including handgun trick shots, sniping from moving platforms, building climbing and rappelling walls and armed marching,” the newspaper noted. “Honor guards practiced marching in formation and coastal troops finished a series of practice sessions including what seemed to be chemical attack countermeasures, CPR and flag signaling.”
A column in the Global Times Wednesday separately warned that America and Iran could hasten another world war at the scale of World War I. Iran hurled over a dozen missiles in the direction of Iraqi bases housing American troops early Wednesday morning local time, causing no casualties and negligible property damage. The failed missile attack was branded “revenge” for a U.S. airstrike eliminating Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force.
The IRGC is a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, the only one to be a formal wing of a state military.
China is nominally allied with Iran, defending previous belligerent Iranian activity, but has not offered condolences for Soleimani or defended Iran, instead simply condemning America for taking any military action.
The Global Times claimed that “Chinese analysts,” who usually echo the opinion of the Communist Party, had “called for restraint from both sides to avoid repeating the same old disaster of the First World War.”
“World War I was triggered by a small event that eventually led to a major war involving many of the world’s great powers, which should serve as a warning,” former Chinese ambassador to Iran, Hua Liming — one of the “analysts” — said, minimizing the importance of removing Soleimani from the battlefield as a “small event.”
Hua also appeared to be minimizing the significance of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the event widely believed to have triggered World War I. Unlike the Soleimani strike, a rogue assassin killed Ferdinand, not known to be involved in any terrorist activity at the time. Soleimani, Pentagon officials confirmed, was planning an imminent attack on American citizens at the time of his death and had been responsible for hundreds of American deaths and thousands of casualties.
Another “analyst,” Yang Xiyu, lamented that the Iranian authoritarian regime and American government had to contend with “irrational” public opinion in their respective countries. While Iran is a totalitarian state, it has faced growing waves of protest against the regime and squandered much of the money necessary to repress its people on wars in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, leaving it vulnerable to public outrage.
The Chinese people have no say in the actions of their government, as the totalitarian communist state kills, imprisons, and tortures anyone who defies it. The Global Times regularly promotes this reality as a desirable “harmony” in contrast to the “chaos” of democratic societies.
“Leaders of both countries are facing a historical test: they need to find a balance that does not deviate from each other’s domestic political sentiment, but also shoulder the historical responsibility to protect the long-term interests of their countries and regions and find a way out of this crisis. This requires courage and wisdom,” Yang was quoted as saying.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry, which speaks with more authority for the regime than the Times, vowed to play a “responsible role” between Iran and America on Wednesday.
“Like we said repeatedly, worsening of tensions in the Middle East doesn’t serve the interest of anyone. Ensuring peace and stability in the region is of vital importance to the whole world,” spokesman Geng Shuang said in response to a question about the Iranian missile attacks, failing to condemn the United States for it. In response to a question asking if China considered the missiles valid self-defense, Geng added, “We believe the relevant sides should resolve differences properly and peacefully through dialogue and negotiations on the basis of mutual respect, and jointly uphold peace and stability in the Middle East and the Gulf region.”