Armed Forces of the Chinese Empire
|Armed Forces of the Chinese Empire|
The Green Standard, Emblem of the Qing Empire's Armed Forces
War flag and naval jack of China
|Current form||September 1, 1901 (118 years, 310 days)|
Imperial Air Force
Imperial Rocket Force
|Headquarters||War Ministry, Beijing|
|Minister of War||
Gen. Qi Kaiyao
|Chief of General Staff||Gen. Tang Ruyi|
|Chief of Admiralty Staff||Grand Adm. Wu Zhiqiang|
|Conscription||Not enforced since 1947, possible during times of war|
|Budget||$177.9 billion (ranked 2nd)|
|Percent of GDP||1.3%|
The Armed Forces of the Chinese Empire (Chinese: 中華帝國武裝部隊; pinyin: Zhōnghuá dìguó wǔzhuāng bùduì) are the armed forces of China, consisting of five branches: the Imperial Army, the Imperial Navy, the Imperial Air Force, and the Imperial Rocket Force. In addition, there is the Armed Police, which serves as a gendarmerie and active reserve, and the Imperial Guard, which provides protection for the House of Aisin Gioro. The Armed Forces are under the administration of the Ministry of War and operational control is exercised by the General Staff Department and the Admiralty Department. The Rocket Force is under the direct command of the central government, and while the Imperial Guard is formally part of the Ministry of Police, it is considered a military service.
China has the world's largest military with 3,144,000 active duty personnel and 4,206,000 reservists, and constitutes the world's second biggest military budget with $177.9 billion, only behind the United Commonwealth. As a recognized nuclear weapons state, China is considered both a major regional military power and a potential military superpower. National service for two years is required by law for all Chinese men, but in practice conscription has not been enforced since 1947 because there are enough volunteers to sustain all of the military's posts. During the Cold War the Qing Empire has primarily focused on building up its ground forces to face a potential war with the Soviet Union, having one of the largest armies among the Western NATO-aligned powers with more than 5 million active troops at its peak. While China has traditionally been a land power, since the 1990s the Qing have made an effort to create a blue-water navy to defend China's growing economic interests abroad, planning to commission six aircraft carriers and building military bases along critical sea lanes. It also maintains a fleet of nuclear and ballistic missile submarines.
The modern Chinese military traces its roots back to the establishment of a standing professional army by the Han dynasty, China's second imperial dynasty, in 180 BC. By the late 19th century under the Qing dynasty, there was no unified national army and security was provided Green Standard Army garrisons across the country, while the Manchu Bannermen acted as the elite corps. The navy adopted Western ironclad warships but did not fundamentally adopt Western tactics or traditions. The First Sino-Japanese War in 1895 showed that this structure was almost completely useless against a modern European-style conscript army and properly organised navy, and the Qing began major military reforms from 1901 to create a modern military force. The armed forces saw action during the Second Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945, during which the ranks of the Chinese military swelled to over 12 million men in total. Since the end of World War II, the Chinese empire was able to develop a modern military comparable to those of the Anglo-American countries and the Soviet bloc, and developed its own nuclear weapons arsenal.
The Emperor of China, currently the Hongxian Emperor, is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces whom its personnel swear allegiance to. Administration, logistics, and military policy are decided by the Ministry of War, which is normally headed by an active duty general or admiral, and it includes the General Staff and Admiralty Departments, responsible for conduct of operations, war planning and long term strategy, implementation of policy, and maintaining the vehicles and material. Each branch is divided into regional theater commands, which answer to the staff departments. Commanders of each theater report directly to the senior staff and units throughout China are assigned to one of the theaters. China maintains overseas bases in Syria, Djibouti, and North Vietnam, and a permanent naval squadron operating on rotation off the coast of Somalia. It is also a member of the League of Nations Security Council.