Mil­i­tary Ranks

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS -

Mil­i­tary rank is one of the sig­na­tures of a stan­dard­ised army. Be­fore the found­ing of the PRC, the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee and the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion had pro­posed to im­ple­ment the mil­i­tary ranks. The pro­posal, how­ever, failed to be car­ried out due to wars and many other fac­tors. Af­ter the found­ing of the PRC, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of mil­i­tary ranks was once again put on the agenda with the mod­erni­sa­tion and stan­dard­i­s­a­tion of the CPLA. In Novem­ber 1952, the Gen­eral Direc­torate Depart­ment made a pre­lim­i­nary plan for im­ple­ment­ing mil­i­tary ranks in its re­port to the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion and Chair­man Mao Ze­dong (1893–1976, Chi­nese com­mu­nist rev­o­lu­tion­ary, poet, po­lit­i­cal the­o­rist and founder of the PRC). Af­ter sev­eral years of demon­stra­tion and prepa­ra­tion, the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion is­sued the In­struc­tions on the As­sess­ment of Mil­i­tary Ranks in Jan­uary 1955. On Fe­bru­ary 8, the Sixth Ses­sion of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple's Congress adopted and pro­mul­gated the Reg­u­la­tions on the Ser­vice of the PLA Of­fi­cers (the Reg­u­la­tions). The Reg­u­la­tions stip­u­lated that the PLA be­gan to carry out the mil­i­tary ranks sys­tem from Septem­ber 1955.

The ranks of PLA of­fi­cers were di­vided into Mar­shal of the PRC; Se­nior Gen­eral, Gen­eral, Lieu­tenant Gen­eral, Ma­jor Gen­eral; Se­nior Colonel, Colonel, Lieu­tenant Colonel, Ma­jor; Se­nior Cap­tain, Cap­tain, First Lieu­tenant, Sec­ond Lieu­tenant and Ju­nior Lieu­tenant. The ranks of en­listed per­son­nel were di­vided into Staff Sergeant, Sergeant, Cor­po­ral; Pri­vate First Class and Pri­vate.

On Septem­ber 27, 1955, the Ti­tle and Medal Con­fer­ring Cer­e­mony was held in Zhong­nan­hai, Bei­jing. Peng Zhen, vicechair­man and sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple's Congress, read the PRC Pres­i­dent's or­der to con­fer the ti­tle of Mar­shal of the PRC to Zhu De, Peng De­huai, Lin Biao, Liu Bocheng, He Long, Chen Yi, Luo Ronghuan, Xu Xiangqian, Nie Rongzhen and Ye Jiany­ing; and the or­der to award medals to those who con­trib­uted to the Chi­nese Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War, the War of Lib­er­a­tion and the peace­ful lib­er­a­tion of Ti­bet. Mao Ze­dong per­son­ally awarded ti­tles of medals. At 2 p.m. on the same day, the Ti­tle Con­fer­ring Cer­e­mony was held in the State Coun­cil, and Pre­mier Zhou En­lai (1898–1976) awarded the ti­tles to of­fi­cers in Bei­jing. At the first cer­e­mony, a to­tal of 10 Mar­shals, 10 Se­nior Gen­eral, 57 Gen­eral, 175 Lieu­tenant Gen­eral, 800 Ma­jor Gen­eral, more than 32,000 Field Grade Of­fi­cers, 498,000 Ju­nior Of­fi­cers and 112,000 War­rant Of­fi­cers were awarded.

Medals in­clude the Au­gust 1st Medal for the Agrar­ian Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War (Au­gust 1, 1927–July 6, 1937), the In­de­pen­dence and Free­dom Medal for the War of Re­sis­tance against Ja­panese Ag­gres­sion (July 7, 1937–Septem­ber 2, 1945), and the Lib­er­a­tion Medal for the War of Lib­er­a­tion (Septem­ber 3, 1945–June 30, 1950).

Aside from the mil­i­tary ranks, the PLA also im­ple­mented a salary sys­tem and com­pul­sory mil­i­tary ser­vice sys­tem, and is­sued the Reg­u­la­tions for the CPLA on Po­lit­i­cal Work. These ini­tia­tives play an im­por­tant role in pro­mot­ing the mod­erni­sa­tion and stan­dard­i­s­a­tion of the PLA, giv­ing it a new look, strength­en­ing the sense of or­gan­i­sa­tional dis­ci­pline, en­hanc­ing the sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity and hon­our of of­fi­cers and en­listed per­son­nel, mo­bil­is­ing their en­thu­si­asm and cre­ativ­ity, and per­fect­ing the mil­i­tary and pol­i­tics.

The mil­i­tary ranks sys­tem was can­celled in 1965. At the be­gin­ning of 1982, the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion made a de­ci­sion to re­in­force the mil­i­tary ranks sys­tem and be­gan prepa­ra­tions for a new mil­i­tary ranks sys­tem. On De­cem­ber 30, 1987, the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion de­cided to im­ple­ment a new mil­i­tary ranks sys­tem from the Na­tional Day (Oc­to­ber 1) in 1988. On July 1, 1988, the Sec­ond Meet­ing of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Sev­enth NPC ap­proved the Reg­u­la­tions on the Mil­i­tary Ranks of Of­fi­cers of the CPLA, mark­ing the birth of the new mil­i­tary ranks sys­tem.

The new mil­i­tary ranks sys­tem for of­fices is di­vided into three cat­e­gories and 11 classes—(1) Gen­eral Of­fi­cers: Se­nior Gen­eral, Gen­eral, Lieu­tenant Gen­eral, Ma­jor Gen­eral; (2) Field Grade Of­fi­cers: Colonel Com­man­dant, Colonel, Lieu­tenant Colonel, Ma­jor; (3) Unit Grade Of­fi­cers: Cap­tain, First Lieu­tenant, and Sec­ond Lieu­tenant. The new mil­i­tary ranks sys­tem for en­listed per­son­nel is di­vided into three cat­e­gories and seven classes—(1) Petty Of­fi­cers: Chief Sergeant, Spe­cial­ist Sergeant; (2) Non-com­mis­sioned Of­fi­cers: Sergeant, Cor­po­ral, Lance Cor­po­ral; (3) Pri­vates: Pri­vate First Class, and Pri­vate.

Ac­cord­ing to the posts of mil­i­tary, po­lit­i­cal and lo­gis­tic of­fi­cers, the post grades of of­fi­cers are di­vided into: Chair­man of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, Vice Chair­man, Mem­bers of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, Prin­ci­pal of Mil­i­tary Re­gion, Deputy of Mil­i­tary Re­gion, Army Com­man­der, Vice Army Com­man­der, Di­vi­sion Com­man­der, Vice Di­vi­sion Com­man­der (Bri­gade Com­man­der), Reg­i­men­tal Com­man­der ( Vice Bri­gade Com­man­der), Vice Reg­i­men­tal Com­man­der, Bat­tal­ion Com­man­der, Vice Bat­tal­ion Com­man­der, Com­pany Com­man­der, Vice Com­pany Com­man­der, and Pla­toon Leader.

Pro­fes­sional and tech­ni­cal of­fi­cers, ac­cord­ing to pro­fes­sional and tech­ni­cal level, are di­vided into se­nior, in­ter­me­di­ate, pri­mary.

On Septem­ber 14, 1988, the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion held the Gen­eral Mil­i­tary Ranks Con­fer­ring Cer­e­mony in Bei­jing. Since Oc­to­ber 1, 1988, the CPLA has for­mally im­ple­mented the new mil­i­tary ranks sys­tem, and con­ferred a to­tal of 1,452 Gen­eral Of­fi­cers, 180,000 field Grade Of­fi­cers, and 405,000 Unit Grade Of­fi­cers.

Im­ple­men­ta­tion of the mil­i­tary ranks sys­tem marks again how the CPLA has made greater progress in terms of its mod­erni­sa­tion and stan­dard­i­s­a­tion.

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