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A new video produced by China’s military that features the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) showing off a wide range of the country’s latest military technology has gone viral after its publication to social media on August 1st, the day China commemorated ‘Army Day’.
The just over two-minute video, called “I am a Chinese soldier” is an over the top patriotic tribute emphasizing a combination of personal sacrifice, loyalty, and a sense of esprit de corps in belonging to an elite, modernized military.
The National Interest has provided a translation of the popular Chinese language footage, which is described as follows:
The video is brimful with the grandiosity that is now associated with the military under Xi Jinping: a lot of ammunition is fired, and the very latest in China’s military technology — combat aircraft, a carrier battle group, long-range ballistic missiles, submarines and armored vehicles — is on full, proud, active display.
The video further appeals to a masculine sense of duty and sacrificial hardship as the there’s a series of scenes in the first half depicting men saying tearful goodbyes to their children and spouses, after which infantry soldiers give fierce battle cries while waving the communist national flag, interspersed with overhead shots of huge intercontinental ballistic missiles a silo and an aircraft carrier battle group.
The narration includes the lines: “Peace behind me, war in front of me. Pick up the steel gun, we must let go of the children.”
The National Interest notes the masculine and patriotic appeal of the video:
As some watchers have observed, the world depicted in this video is very much a man’s world — there isn’t a single female soldier; the few women who appear are mothers and spouses, tearfully enduring, no doubt with the full patriotism that is expected of them by the Chinese Communist Party, the absences and heart-rending departures of sons and husbands. At times serene and towards the end bombastic, the accompanying soundtrack could have been written by Hans Zimmer (think his majestic score for Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line ).
China has increasingly over the past year attempted to promote an image of itself to international foes and rivals as on a path of overtaking the United States and other world powers in the area of defense technology.
Meanwhile America’s top nuclear commander warned this week that both China and Russia’s development of hyperonic weapons constitute a threat that the US deterrent arsenal currently cannot defend against.
Air Force Gen. John Hyten warned the two countries are not America’s “friends” and that the new military technology threat should be taken with urgency and seriousness.
“You can’t call them [Russia and China] our friends if they’re building weapons that can destroy the United States of America,” Gen. Hyten said.
Below is an English translation of the new video, “I am a Chinese Soldier” via J. Michael Cole for the The National Interest
* * *
The narration (translated from Chinese):
Who am I?
I am the one the mother cannot reach at the door.
I am the wife who is reluctant to hang up the phone.
I am a stranger who dares not approach in the eyes of my son.
I am the concern and pride of my loved ones.
Peace behind me, war in front of me.
Pick up the steel gun, we must let go of the children.
Put on the military uniform, we must give up comfort and ease.
Fighting the battlefield, the character of the man.
From the military to the country, there is no regret in this life.
I am a Chinese soldier.
I am a soldier of the people.
I am the guardian of a good life.