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My good old days with Chinese soldiers

Updated: 2012-12-27 15:27 By Mabbubur Rahman

As People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China celebrates its 85th Founding Anniversary on 1st August, I can’t help thinking of those old days when I stayed with Chinese soldiers.

PLA, true to its name always maintained its basic peoples' army character. It always bore in mind what Mao Zedong taught, army is more like a fish and people are like the water in a river. This has been the ethos of PLA and the essence of China's civil military relationship. PLA was never isolated from the broad masses and always remained deeply involved in all national developments and socioeconomic activities. It played a dominant role in national reconstruction and infrastructure building and combating natural disasters, like floods, cyclones, tornadoes, draughts and earthquakes. PLA always enjoyed the utmost trust, confidence, love and respect of the people of China. It is an all pervasive force with multidimensional characters. It is a fighting force par excellence with highest combat readiness. It is a productive force beyond comparison and skilled workforce, the colossus of which the world has not seen before.

I recall, I had the opportunity to live in a PLA unit in a garrison very near to Beijing for a month in mid 1977. It was a part of the study curriculum, during my study in Beijing Modern Languages Institute. President Ziaur Rahman, the visionary leader of Bangladesh, who believed in strong Sino-Bangla relation, sent me to China to study Chinese language for my future employment as military attaché in the embassy. In my outdoor study (kai men ban xue) I was sent to a PLA unit, I lived in the military barracks along with the PLA junior commanders.

My good old days with Chinese soldiers

There was no rank system in PLA at that time and officers were called commanders and soldiers, the fighters. I put on their uniform, ate, worked, played and slept with them. I was introduced with the great master military strategist of ancient China, Sun Tzu and his epic work Art of War. I was given many tactical combat lessons. I was taken to the firing range to learn the skills of shooting. I found PLA soldiers were most accurate on to their targets and never missed any shot. The PLA unit where I lived was fully self-sufficient to cater its logistic needs. It had its own uniform and shoe making factory, it had its own agricultural fields to grow grains and vegetables, own farm yards to raise cattle and get meat and dairy products. The unit was even running a medicine factory to produce medicine for local use and surplus sold outside.

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