The Liaoning aircraft carrier XINHUA
Destroyers sailed the sea, submarines slid under the surface and fighter jets flew across the sky. It wasn’t a scene from a war movie, indeed, it was a grand naval parade.
This parade was held in waters off the port city of Qingdao on April 23, as part of a series of events to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.
In 1949, the navy had just 20 old ships when it was founded in Taizhou, Jiangsu province. At the parade, however, the PLA Navy sent 32 ships and 39 warplanes, including China’s newest destroyers and submarines, reported China Daily. The parade showed that the PLA Navy is on its way to becoming a “world-class” force, said Xinhua News.
As a large country with more than 18,000 kilometers of coastline, China needs a strong navy. This was a hard lesson taught by history. According to Xinhua, from the 1850s until 1949, foreign forces used the sea to make about 470 invasions of China. Hence, the PLA Navy has become a key line of the nation’s defense.
Apart from improving our nation’s safety, the navy also plays an important role in protecting the nation’s overseas interests and helping with global peacekeeping. It has fought pirates in the Gulf of Aden and waters near Somalia. After a civil war broke out in Yemen in 2015, a nearby Chinese fleet managed to evacuate 621 Chinese citizens as well as 276 people from 15 other countries.
The Navy also has a hospital ship called the Peace Ark. According to China Daily, the ship has traveled to 43 countries and areas since 2010. It gives free medicine and surgeries to more than 230,000 people.
As President Xi Jinping said, the oceans are of great significance as they sustain life and connect the world. “The blue planet that humans inhabit is not divided into islands by the oceans, but is connected by the oceans to form a community with a shared future, where people of all countries share weal and woe,” said Xi during his speech at the event.