A screen shot of the 2016 recruiting video for the People's Liberation Army titled Battle Declaration.
The 2016 recruiting video for the People's Liberation Army titled Battle Declaration has already been watched tens of thousands of times in weeks since it was posted online. All those who have watched it will have noted the advanced, high-tech weaponry displayed.
For years, the PLA has been investing heavily to enhance its fighting capabilities, and the video shows the progress the PLA has made in modernizing its weaponry.
All the branches of PLA, namely the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Rocket Force appear in the video displaying their modern technologies and equipment, demonstrating they are now a modern national defense force.
The video sends a clear signal that the old thinking that emphasized the number of military personnel rather than technology has been abandoned.
Some Western media have speculated that China is preparing for war because of the video's title. They even quote the lyrics and scenes from the video, such as the launching of missiles, to support their claim that China is belligerent.
Could they fabricate anything more absurd than that? Such videos are meant to encourage young people to join the military so they have to look exciting. If such shots signal China's belligerence, all countries that produce such military recruitment videos are belligerent.
China has never, and will never, change its defensive defense policy, which has been reiterated many times by the government and military. However, this defensive policy should not be misunderstood. Defensive does not mean that when China senses danger it will remain idle while enemies invade its territories.
China's defensive defense policy means it will never invade another country.
Considering the current global situation, China needs to adopt a proactive defensive defense policy. This video clearly signals the change in how it is implementing its defensive defense policy.
Unlike the past persuasion-style videos, the Battle Declaration video looks much more modern because it means to recruit more young people with a higher educational background. Therefore it has two main characteristics: using more popular elements, as well displaying more technology.
The video's being released in late April was also carefully considered. College students will graduate in July; the video means to encourage them to join the PLA on graduating, and it gives them a few months to think before they make their final decision.
The author Zhai Dequan is deputy general secretary of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association. This is an excerpt of his interview with China Daily.