Jaydev Ranade


President, China Center for Analysis and Policy

Armies around the world conduct simulations and war games to enhance their combat capabilities, ensure operational readiness, and improve logistics. Sometimes, the names given to war games are designed to indicate the intent of the enemy. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) also often organizes war games in local areas.

Recently, and against the backdrop of increased threats directed towards Taiwan, China has staged a major war game called the ‘War Prepared Mobilization Exercise’. It was centered around Guangzhou in the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command, and the designated enemy was Taiwan. Unusually, on May 14, a video of the exercise, called by a committee of the Guangdong Provincial Communist Party, was leaked. It is still unclear whether this was part of a psycho-war against Taiwan or an unofficial recording of a meeting by a disgruntled PLA official.

Yet the recording reveals interesting details, which will undoubtedly be carefully analyzed by China’s neighbors and rivals to help them better understand the signs of war. China’s neighbors will pay special attention to the planning sequence and its essential components, which will be replicated in all the provinces directly involved in large-scale military operations.

The hour-long video details, in the beginning, the importance given by the Chinese to ideological preparation or teaching. This is followed by civil and military interaction, the role of PLA military commanders and political commissioners, the roles and responsibilities of central and provincial CCP organizations, and the function and use of defense-related assets in Guangdong province and region. It specifies the pre-existing powers of the Provincial Party Secretary who, as a member, is the head of the Provincial Military-Civil Joint Command, along with the Military Territory Commander and the Political Commissioner. While the provincial governor is responsible for enforcing the mobilization, the provincial military district commander is responsible for military activities before the war begins.

Civil-military coordination is a priority in preparation after efforts to increase the morale and ideological awareness of the troops. The provincial leadership stressed the need to “quickly establish a joint military-civilian command party committee.” It simultaneously recognized the importance of self-defense, focusing on “ultra-dense cities”, important military and subsistence targets and better air defense of military targets and people’s lives and property. Specific responsibilities were assigned to the available strengths and resources for radiation environmental monitoring, molecular, biological and chemical support, and biochemical medical testing.

The recommendations of the military commander, PLA Major-General Zhou He, the commander of the Guangdong Military Region, and the political commissioner of the Guangdong Military Region, Major-General Wang Shoxin, were more specific. He said: (i) the provincial industry must comply with the joint command of the joint command; (ii) military-civilian departments at all levels should discharge their duties and ensure coordination; (iii) the needs of the military to support frontline operations must be fully ensured; (iv) to ensure the life of the people and the stability of the past (battlefield); (v) the integration of the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea should be coordinated simultaneously; (vi) must pool all resources in the Taiwan Strait area; (vii) Due to the large number of migrant workers and the large number of factories and industries, care must be taken to avoid rushing to the banks, evacuation by factories and migration of migrant workers who want to go home; (viii) Roads and targets should be well protected; (ix) China’s proximity and long coastline with Hong Kong and Macau must prevent enemy infiltration and sabotage; And (x) the enemy should not use Hong Kong as a base to create chaos to disrupt the war.

Communication was given a lot of importance. This is not surprising given China’s efforts to develop quantum communications and fears about the US and West’s ability to disrupt and jam signals and communications. The importance of military and civilian relations was underlined. Information data security centers and information cells were set up at all command points, while company-platoon-level forces were deployed in battalion-level information and communications forces and subordinate administrative units in the province. The existence of a ‘confidential information remote delivery system’ was revealed to be capable of integrating into a joint command system; National Defense Mobilization Task Information Command System; Command communication relies on county-level military-civilian joint commands and ultra-shortwave, Tiantong-1 satellite phones below; And ‘Integrated Confidential Password System’ on Acer Government Intranet. China’s emphasis on dual-use is reflected in its ability to integrate military and civilian communications systems. It also reveals that the Chinese will be the first to target the communication network.

This exercise revealed the right of civil-military command resources to accelerate the production of marshals and drones, ships and aircraft. It was also revealed that PLA and tech companies like Huawei, Tencent etc. are connected to each other.

For India, in particular, the provinces to be consolidated under the Western Theater Command are: Tibet (Zhejiang), Sichuan, Xinjiang, Chongqing, Gansu, Ningxia and Qinghai. Sichuan in particular has a concentration of defense manufacturers, including aircraft and drone companies. The integration headquarters will be in Lanzhou, Lhasa and Chengdu. Chengdu is the headquarters of a joint operation command established in any situation, in times of war or crisis. During the actual preparation phase, posters for recruitment and guidance for citizens will appear in this area. Advances in telecommunications, including quantum, may make it difficult to disrupt Chinese transportation, but the preparatory phase will see increased activity. The ‘leaked’ video gives an idea of ​​the resources that each theater command / war zone can use.