PLA a past master at nu­tri­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS -

When the Red Army, the pre­de­ces­sor of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army, was en­gaged in the revo­lu­tion­ary war in the 1930s, its sol­diers got less than 1 penny a day to buy non­sta­ple food and fire­wood. To­day the PLA of­fers its sol­diers foods with bal­anced nu­tri­tion. In the past 90 years, the PLA has greatly im­proved the qual­ity and nu­tri­tion level of the foods it serves. Two mil­i­tary ex­perts share their views with China Daily’s Zhang Zhoux­i­ang. Ex­cerpts fol­low:

The nu­tri­tion stan­dards of a mil­i­tary are de­cided by two main fac­tors: the im­por­tance its lead­er­ship at­taches to nu­tri­tion, and the de­vel­op­ment level of the coun­try.

Since the in­tro­duc­tion of re­form and open­ing-up pol­icy in the late 1970s, the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion has been pay­ing greater at­ten­tion to the nu­tri­tion stan­dards of the foods PLA per­son­nel get.

From 1978 to 2000, the PLA im­proved the nu­tri­tion stan­dards mainly by rais­ing the per­cent­age of meat and veg­eta­bles in the per­son­nel’s diet to help them meet the needs of train­ing and fight­ing.

Since 2000, the CMC has been fo­cus­ing more on bal­anced nu­tri­tion. Over the past decade, the PLA has pre­pared dif­fer­ent menus for of­fi­cers and sol­diers de­ployed at dif­fer­ent posts to fully pro­tect their health, and the in­gre­di­ents for every dish are se­lected to en­sure bal­anced nu­tri­tion. It has even in­tro­duced new posts called “diet nu­tri­tion­ists” to help de­sign the best pos­si­ble menus for sol­diers and of­fi­cers alike.

Of course, there is room for im­prove­ment. The PLA could fol­low the ex­am­ples of de­vel­oped coun­tries’ mil­i­taries and fur­ther di­ver­sify its menus, as well as make them more bal­anced. Thanks to China’s grow­ing pros-

per­ity and the cen­tral lead­er­ship’s con­cern, the nu­tri­tion stan­dards for PLA per­son­nel will con­tinue to im­prove.

Li Daguang, a re­searcher at the PLA Na­tional De­fense Univer­sity

The nu­tri­tion stan­dards for PLA per­son­nel are very high to­day com­pared with a few decades ago. The prob­lem is no longer about pro­vid­ing per­son­nel with nu­tri­tious food, but about how to de­liver foods to sol­diers and of­fi­cers de­ployed at spe­cial posts in re­mote and haz­ardous places.

For ex­am­ple, San­sha city is more than 300 kilo­me­ters from South China’s Hainan pro­vin­cial coast, and the of­fi­cers and sol­diers sta­tioned on the is­lands and reefs there de­pend on food ship­ments from Hainan and in­land re­gions. And sub­marines have to carry enough foods to en­sure the navy per­son­nel man­ning them get enough to eat to be able to pa­trol the open seas

for months at a stretch. In the Ti­bet and Xin­jiang Uygur au­tonomous re­gions, where cli­mate con­di­tions can be treach­er­ous, troops also get their food sup­plies from in­land re­gions.

How to ef­fi­ciently sup­ply food to its per­son­nel on such posts is a test for not only the PLA’s sup­ply sys-

tem, but also for its com­bat ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

The PLA has been do­ing quite well in this on­go­ing test. In San­sha, the PLA per­son­nel get enough food sup­ply to en­joy five dishes plus one soup for every meal. And

sub­marines that pa­trol the seas of­ten carry a wide va­ri­ety of food to meet sol­diers’ needs.

A mil­i­tary marches on its stom­ach. By ef­fi­ciently pro­vid­ing foods for its per­son­nel on spe­cial posts in re­mote and haz­ardous places, the PLA is not only march­ing ahead but also im­prov­ing its com­bat ca­pa­bil­ity.

Zhang Jun­she, a se­nior re­searcher at the PLA Naval Mil­i­tary Stud­ies Re­search In­sti­tute

CAI MENG / CHINA DAILY

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.