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Air, land, or sea; They're all in the Army.

"During the Damansky Island incident the Chinese military developed three main strategies: The Great Offensive, The Small Retreat, and Infiltration by Small Groups of One to Two Million Across the Border."
Russian jokenote 

When the People's Liberation Army's 'Pingjing' Campaign to crush the 'Beiping' (now 'Beijing')-Tianjin pocket of 500,000 Kuomintang troops was complete, it established itself as the dominant military power in China. After breaking the KMT's defensive line on the Yangzi, they went on to accomplish total victory over the Kuomintang in just a year - bringing the Chinese Civil War to an end after 34 years of warfare and 8+ million dead. When taken together with the 10-20 million dead of the Second Sino-Japanese War this left Communist China as the one of the most war-devastated states in the history of the entire world. It also left her with the second-largest military after that of the Soviet Union.

Being the country with the largest population in the world, it's not surprising that China has more active-duty and reserve military personnel than any other nation, with nearly three million serving in the PLA. In addition, China also maintains around one and a half million para-military personnel in the form of the People's Armed Police, although the PAP (including the Chinese Coast Guard) is not part of the PLA, instead formerly answering to the State Council and now directly to the Central Military Commission as a gendarmerie equivalent separate from the civilian police. As a proportion of its population, however, China's armed forces are not large; many countries, including the US, have a higher percentage of their populations in uniform. China does maintain a very large Militia force for aiding the PLA and PAP in wartime (including the PLA Navy and PAP Coast Guard by the Maritime Militia).

Technically, military service with the People's Liberation Army is obligatory for all male and female Chinese citizens, but in practice the supply of volunteers is such that conscription has never been enforced. All eighteen-year-olds have to register themselves with the government authorities, in a manner somewhat similar to the Selective Service System of the United States. Chinese soldiers and armed police swear the following oath of loyalty:

"I am a member of the People's Liberation Army. I promise that I will follow the leadership of the Communist Party of China, serve the people wholeheartedly, obey orders, strictly observe discipline, fight heroically, fear no sacrifice, loyally discharge my duties, work hard, practice hard to master combat skills, and resolutely fulfill my missions. Under no circumstances will I betray the motherland or desert the army."

Note that the oath places the Communist Party ahead of the people and country (something that has raised eyebrows among some of the apolitical militaries). This is intentional- the PLA is, officially, the armed wing of the Communist Party.

All armed forces of the People's Republic of China are part of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), leading to its air and naval forces being referred to in English as the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), respectively (see below for PLAAF's Airborne Corps and the PLAN's Marine Corps -and other commands). What in most nations would be simply the Army is known as the People's Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF). Ballistic missiles, both nuclear and conventional, are operated by the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF), and in 2015 a fifth branch, the People's Liberation Army Strategic Support Force (PLASSF) was created. The PLASSF is focused on cyber, space, political and electronic warfare. The PLA is in the process of shifting its emphasis from massed ground forces to increasing the strength of its naval and air power, as China's focus now shifts from defending its land frontiers to projecting its interests in the rest of the world.

It should be noted that referring to the PLA as a whole as an "army" is a product of translation conventions into English and the term in Chinese dimply means "armed force" or "military", and the various branches are termed "People's Liberation Military Ground Military", "People's Liberation Military Sea Military", "People's Liberation Military Air Military", and so on.

China has one of the largest airforces of the region and globally, although their ability to operate globally is less robust than the USAF. The naval branch is medium sized and transitioning from a primarily coastal defence force to one with regional capability. More modern nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers (the first one is the Liaoning, a retrofitted former Soviet aircraft carrier) are much-discussed potential additions. The PLA also has ASBMsnote , missiles to destroy aircraft carriers. Aircraft carriers are seen as a top priority for the PLAN, largely as a matter of national prestige; Chinese officials have expressed the belief that "all great powers have aircraft carriers", and thus consider it essential that China must have them.

Currently, China has been making huge pushes to modernize their armed forces to be able to compete with the United States, massively expanding Naval and Air Force assets. In addition to trying to build their own blue water navy, China has developed and built its own homegrown stealth jet; said jet is now popularly known as the J-20 (The J comes from the first letter of the pinyin romanisation of 歼击机 (jiānjījī), the Chinese for "fighter-plane", so it's the equivalent of F in American aircraft designations).

Despite the trope name, the Chinese do not employ attack helicopters and gunships in the same manner as the U.S. or Russia, and most Chinese "attack" helicopters are utility helicopters that have been refitted to fulfill support roles. This is expected to change following the introduction of China's first true dedicated attack helicopter, the Z-10, which is nicknamed 城管, or "Urban Management Chopper" for a joke that the chopper might be deployed by law enforcement offices to use them on street vendors. The Z-10 was designed by the Russian firm Kamov (despite lacking the usual Kamov trademark of coaxial rotors) but will be manufactured exclusively in China. A second dedicated type WZ-19, upgraded from Z-9 or Eurocopter AS365, is also being deployed.

Among the Air Force is the Airborne Corps which is the primary operator of the aforementioned helicopters and has parachutist assets as well. It is designed to be a strategic force to serve as a constantly active long distance expeditionary unit, as opposed to Ground Force Aviation assets which are designed for wartime and occasional peacetime deployment.

The PLAN has also been the subject of major investment in the 2010s and 2020s, having commissioned some of its first domestic aircraft carriers. The Navy is split into the Surface Force, the Submarine Force, the Coastal Defense Force, Naval Aviation and the Marine Corps. Surface handles warships, Submarine Force is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, Coastal Defense and Naval Aviation is in the same boat as the submarines for their job description, if not literally. The Marines were reformed to be a long distance expeditionary force with integral amphibious armor and artillery assets and integral air support assets for their helicopters, a strategic force just like the reformed Airborne Corps. A note to be made is that the PLA Ground Force maintains specific Amphibious Brigades with heavier assets than the expeditionary marines. They are theorized to be explicitly designed to take over Taiwan by exploiting initial landings made by the Marines, though the Marines are as aforementioned designed to be an expeditionary unit. It is likely that the Ground Force Amphibious units indeed were specifically designed to take Taiwan with their heavier assets. The PAP Coast Guard serve similar auxiliary roles to the PAP land and are designed to be placed under Navy control at wartime, with the Maritime Militia also acting as a reserve. The Coast Guard is also notably involved in coordinating militia units for South China Sea disputed regions, and are also noted to have unusually large ships for coast guard standards (the unusually large ships help their intimidation factor, an important metric when engaging in bullying tactics during confrontations in the SCS).

Each branch has its own Special Forces units. The Ground Force has a special warfare brigade for each army group, they are designed to act like the US Rangers and are a pure operations and combat force with no apparent Civil Affairs and Psychological capability like the US Special Operations Command. Any top tier units with such capability (if they exist) are unknown to the public as of 2022. The Air Force and the Navy have similar special warfare units for the Airborne Corps and the Marine Corps respectively. The Marines have integrated Recon units for their line units and Sea Dragon Commando unit for spec ops. The Airborne Corps has the Thundergod Commando Force, and may have integral recon assets like the Marines as well. The Rocket Force has the Blade Commandos who are designed to protect PLARF facilities and to provide special recon for the PLARF. The Strategic Support Force has the Counter Terrorism Assault Unit to protect facilities of the PLASSF. The PAP has the Special Police Units, who serve essentially as paramilitary SWAT teams. They are organized province to province and respond to requests by local sections of the civilian People's Police (as well as its more specialized divisions like the Judicial and Prison services and sister organizations like the Railway or Border Police -the latter of which is under the Immigrations and Customs Enforcemetn-), but they are also designed to directly respond to the Central Military Commission to attend national matters as well. Jurisdictionally they report to the local Provincial Security Bureau (or Municipal for province-tiered cities like Beijing).

The standard rifle is the QBZ-95-1, QBZ-95 (bullpups) and QBZ-03 (an improved Type 81 design) rifle, all of which fire a 5.8x42mm round that is (at least according to them) slightly more powerful and longer-ranged than either the NATO 5.56x45mm or Russian 5.45x39mm rounds. Older rifles such as the Type 81 or Type 56 (AK-47) are used for training purposes or in secondary forces. The PLA is also testing an OICW weapon system based on the QBZ-03 and features of the French FELIN system. Recently, the QBZ-95 has started to be phased out in favor of the QBZ-95-1, starting with the Hong Kong garrison. Improvements include a slant/forward ejection system, a heavier barrel for improved accuracy and a more ergonomic safety selector switch.

For a while, from 1965 to 1988, the PLA did not have any military ranks (the early Soviet Army, the Albanian Army during the later Hoxha era, and the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia also did not have ranks, as a way to equalize the officers and the soldiers) and were forced to wear the iconic Mao Suit but with a red rectangle in their collars, specific to the PLA. This was done by Mao Zedong to take the PLA back to its guerrilla roots, and to curb what he saw as elitism in the armed forces. Thus the highest military commanders to ordinary soldiers didn't have ranks. This didn't go very well during the Sino-Vietnamese border war, where the PLA's chain of command was easily disrupted by their more hierarchical Vietnamese opponents. The military ranks were revived in 1988, and so the new PLA uniforms and badges of rank were first widely seen in Western media, most infamously in the Tiananmen Square protests.

The traditional PLA strategy in case of a major war was centered around the idea of "people's war"—a plan which called for luring the enemy deep, using guerrilla warfare to slow him down, and defeat him once he was overextended. After Mao's death, however, the PLA still had to prepare for a conventional Soviet attack (as relations between the two had soured even before Mao died), and the PLA performed rather dismally in the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese War, where they suffered horrendous losses despite (claiming) success in achieving their objectives. In the 1980s, the PLA adopted the "people's war under modern conditions" strategy. This strategy consisted of a strong strategic defense phrase against a surprise attack, combined with guerrilla operations against mechanized forces' logistics lines; a strategic counterattack phase with armored forces against a stalled enemy; and finally a strategic offensive to push the enemy back to the international border.

In concert with this strategic reform was a reorganization of PLA infantry-heavy field armies into combined arms group armies, and the purchase of Western arms. These arms included tank fire control systems and 105mm tank guns, American and British counterbattery radars, helicopters like the UH-60 Blackhawk, modern avionics fitted on the J-7 (MiG-21 clone) and J-8 fighters (a really big MiG-21, although the later J-8II was best described as a mix-and-match of the original J-8 alongside contemporaries like the MiG-23 and F-4 Phantom) 45/52-caliber 155mm howitzers, and Western antitank missiles. While the sales (understandably) stopped after the 1989 Tiananmen protests and subsequent crackdown, the PLA today contains elements traceable to this period, such as still using 105mm tank guns for their light tanks/assault guns and 155mm (as well as 122mm, but 122mm is Soviet in origin) for their medium-caliber self-propelled artillery.

The PLA closely watched the Gulf War, and as a result of their witnessing of the efficiency of NATO troops in the Gulf War, began moving away from these traditional concepts in favor of a modern military capable of fighting a post-industrial war.

Beginning at the turn of the century and continuing on into The New '10s, the Chinese military has been placing a lot of emphasis on deploying unmanned aerial vehicles to extend their airspace defensive zones.

There is an extremely extensive and active subculture of Chinese netizens - the junmi - who obsessively document and follow the Chinese military - at least to the extent the CPC allows. The tendency towards nicknaming Chinese equipment (due to Article 432 of the Chinese Criminal Code punishing disclosure of military secrets) now extends to foreign equipment and armies too - the Yanks with Tanks are nicknamed the "World PD" or the "Global Liberation Army", whilst the ubiquitous F-16 Fighting Falcon is called the "Pomegranate Sister", which is a homonym with the Chinese word for "sixteen". The Chinese authorities have a strained relationship with them. On one hand the junmi tend towards extreme nationalism and statism (something the Communist party is not afraid to exploit to their own interests), on the other their analysis of Chinese military photos is sometimes too good for PLA comfort - not to mention an occasional source of information for the many foreign intelligence agencies with their eyes fixed on China's rising military.

Chinese Nukes

  • The People's Republic possesses and deploys nuclear weapons. Their number and capabilities are state secrets, and publicly-available estimates are pretty much guesswork. See The Dragon's Teeth for more details. China has a clearly defined "no first use" policy; they will only use nuclear weapons in retaliation.
China's military in fiction

Anime & Manga

  • Chen Guoming and Karen Lo are ex-PLA Ground Force officers in Jormungand. Chen is the CEO of Daxinghai, a security company focused on advancing Chinese national interests in Africa. Karen is his bodyguard.
  • Chinese soldiers appear in Canaan when the Snakes take over the Shanghai convention center in the middle of a conference and take multiple world leaders hostage. They actually speak Mandarin (though pretty badly) in the Japanese audio; the English dub didn't bother to do this and did a straight translation of their dialogue into English.
  • "The Wired Red Wild Card" arc of Black Lagoon features a female hacker named Feng Yifei who was formerly a People's Liberation Army operative that specialized in hacking into foreign agencies' files. At the start of the arc, she comes to Roanapur at Janet Bhai's request to do a hack job into a German corporation, but things get botched and she gets disavowed by the PLA. Things go From Bad to Worse for her as the PLA is now looking to permanently silence her. Notable for being a rare look into the cyber-espionage activities of the PLA, which makes a lot of headlines in Real Life but is almost totally unrepresented in fiction.
  • Girly Air Force begins with the Zai leveling all of China in their initial attack on Earth. The story opens with a massive civilian evacuation off the coast of Shanghai as what remains of the PLA is providing escort duties with a few destroyers and extremely outdated Cold War-era fighters, all of which are no match for the Zai.

Comic Books


  • 2012: The PLA is seen guarding the Arks in the Himalayas.
  • They were supposed to appear in the Red Dawn (2012) remake, but they were replaced with North Koreans with Nodongs, as North Korea isn't the country with the second-biggest film audience after the U.S.
  • Taegukgi: Hordes of People's Volunteer Army are featured in a brief scene once the Chinese enters the Korean War in November 1950.
    • A brief scene in MacArthur (1977) shows the PVA attacking a U.S. Army camp in North Korea during the Winter Offensive.
  • The Chinese military plays a significant role in Tomorrow Never Dies, as they and the British Royal Navy are the victims of a False Flag Attack by media mogul Elliot Carver and rogue PLA General Chang to start a war between the two countries.
  • Starting in The New '10s, the Chinese film industry has begun pumping out modern war movies with fictional storylines featuring the Chinese military. This is a notable shift for the industry, as prior to this, Chinese war movies were largely focused on actual historical wars, mainly World War II and the Chinese Civil War. The rapid rise of Chinese military films with an ultra-patriotic, borderline jingoistic bent has been noted by many external China observers to be a sign of the country's massive growing confidence and assertion of extraterritorial rights, especially as all of these movies have received heavy logistical and advisory support from the PLA. Some notable examples:
    • Lock Destination (2011): Perhaps the first example of a modern Chinese military movie, this movie focuses on two PLA Air Force pilots competing to become division commander of their unit with lots of gratuitous use of CG. Outside of China, this movie was called Sky Fighters, which has caused confusion with a 2005 French film of the same name.
    • Wolf Warrior (2015): A Chinese military unit conducting a training exercise near the Vietnamese border comes under attack by mysterious mercenaries. The movie is notable for largely being a Vanity Project for actor Wu Jing.
    • Operation Mekong (2016): Very Loosely Based on a True Story of the 2011 massacre of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River by drug lord Naw Kham (called "Naw Khar" in the film). The Chinese government assigns a special military unit to work with an undercover Chinese narcotics agent across the border to find and destroy Naw Khar and his forces.
    • Wolf Warrior 2 (2017): The biggest Chinese box office success of 2017. In this movie, Wu Jing reprises his role as Leng Feng, who has left the Chinese military after a court martial and is now working off the African coast as a private security guard.
    • Sky Hunter (2017): a top-secret Chinese air force squadron known as "Sky Hunter" is trained to handle sensitive matters involving surgical strikes and hostage rescue. Things get complicated when terrorists in the nearby country of Mahbu attack an army base and take Chinese hostages. Starring Li Chen (who was also the film's director) and his then-superstar fianceé Fan Bingbingnote , this movie also served as a Vanity Project for the couple, especially for Li as this was his directorial debut. Also features a score by Hans Zimmer.
    • Operation Red Sea (2018): The biggest budget Chinese military movie created to date, and 2018's biggest success at the box office. A thematic sequel to Operation Mekong and sharing the same director (Dante Lam) as that film, this movie is a fictionalized account of the March 2015 Chinese civilian evacuation from Yemen, positing what may have happened if the evacuation convoys from Yewaire were to come under massive attack by terrorists.
    • China Peacekeeping Forces (2018): Based off of the Chinese peacekeeping experience in South Sudan, the movie follows a Chinese UN detachment attempting to solve a series of mysterious bombings and rescue a team of kidnapped UN officials. The movie grossed only a measly 10.5 million RMB ($1.5M USD) in its first 3 days, and seems to have put the brakes on the Chinese film industry's appetite for bombastic military movies on hold, at least temporarily.
    • The Rescue (2020): Switching gears a bit, this movie focuses on a Chinese Coast Guard unit as they undergo training and eventually deploy for actual oceanic rescue missions. Although by the same director as Operation Mekong and Operation Red Sea, this is not an action movie but is instead a disaster rescue epic.
  • The 2017 film Youth is a Coming of Age Story following the lives of a performing arts troupe in the People's Liberation Army during the Cultural Revolution, the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese War, and the economic reform period from the 1980s onward. Notable for winning many "Best Picture/Film" awards in China.
  • Assembly follows the 139th Regiment of the People's Liberation Army during the Huaihuai Campaign of the Chinese Civil War, where 47 soldiers are ordered to Hold the Line until they hear the retreat assembly call of the bugle.
  • The Battle of Xiangjiang River tells the story of the Chinese Red Army's 34th Division in late 1934 breaking through a Nationalist Army blockade at Xiang River. The movie's title is redundant since jiāng (江) already means "river." As it was largely a piece to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army's founding in 2017, the movie may have laid the propaganda on a little too thick, judging by its weak box office results and low review scores on Chinese websites.
  • The Chinese army are the enemies in the 2019 Indian movie 72 Hours: Martyr Who Never Died, a biopic about Jaswant Singh Rawat, one of the greatest Indian soldiers who ever lived: he singlehandedly held off the PLA for three days during the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
    • The Sino-Indian War was already being depicted in Indian cinema just a few years after it ended, with the 1963 Tamil movie Ratha Thilagam and the 1964 Hindi movie Haqeeqat. The latter was so well-respected it was screened at the 2016 Pune Film Festival in honor of the 70th anniversary of Indian independence, 52 years after its release.
  • The early 2020s saw a release of several Chinese movies about The Korean War in recognition of that conflict's 70th anniversary:
    • The Sacrifice (2020): A movie about the Battle of Kumsong, the last large-scale Chinese offensive of the war from June to July 1953.
    • The Battle at Lake Changjin (2021-2022): The highest-grossing Chinese film of all time, this movie covers the epic eponymous battle (which is known in the West as the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir). The movie was released in two parts in September 2021 and February 2022. The first part's release was also a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.
    • Snipers (2022): A movie co-directed by Zhang Yimou and his daughter Zhang Mo, inspired by the Korean War actions of Zhang Taofang, the greatest Chinese sniper in history.
    • The Great War: Resist America, Aid Korea (2023): Produced to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the war's end and sharing the same main director as The Battle of Lake Changjin and also starring Zhang Ziyi, this film aims to cover the Chinese involvement in the Korean War all the way from the decision to enter the war to the signing of the final armistice agreement.


  • For most of The '90s, the Chinese military was a popular choice of antagonist for the techno-thriller military genre. The collapse of the Soviet Union made using the USSR as an enemy no longer viable, and the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre was still very fresh in pop-cultural memory, making the PLA an easy choice as a bad guy country with a powerful military that would not hesitate to kill civilians and commit war crimes. Plotlines frequently involved an invasion of Taiwan and other Asian Pacific nations. This died down significantly after the 21st century started when 9/11 shifted the USA's national security focus to the Middle East, as well as the massive rising power of Chinese economic and political influence making depicting them as all-out bad guys a much dicier proposal in the 2000s. Some examples from this era:
    • SSN: A 1996 novel by Tom Clancy that was written as a tie-in to the computer game of the same name. The plot concerns an aggressive new Chinese administration taking power after Deng Xiaoping's death in 1997 (which this novel predicted a year in advance) and launching an invasion of the Spratly Islands, triggering a U.S. military response. The book ends with a real life interview with Clancy and a U.S. Navy officer discussing the possibility of such a conflict happening in reality.
    • Fatal Terrain: A 1997 novel by Dale Brown where they invade Taiwan (after tricking the US into destroying a civilian ferry) and then proceed to nuke Guam.
      • Dale Brown again revisited this territory in his 2012 novel Tiger's Claw, set in the same continuity as Fatal Terrain and concerning the People's Liberation Army amassing an arsenal of anti-satellite missiles to threaten U.S. dominance in space.
    • Dragon Strike: The Millennium War: Co-written by Humphrey Hawksley and Simon Holberton, this 1997 novel is about a hypothetical war in 2001 set off when China lays claim to much of the South China Sea. Uncomfortably prescient in light of Chinese artificial island expansion in that very area in the 2010s, so much so that Hawksley wrote a non-fiction book in 2018 titled Asian Waters about this very issue.
    • Dragon Fire: Also written by Hawksley, this 2000 novel imagines a three-way war breaking out between China, India, and Pakistan over the contentious Kashmir region.
    • Invasion : A 2000 novel describing a Chinese invasion of America right in the middle of the U.S. downsizing its military.
    • The Bear and the Dragon: A Tom Clancy novel published in 2000. Rather implausibly described invading Russia, where they get massacred by the Russian military with American high-tech support.
  • Threat Vector, another novel by Clancy from 2012, this time co-written with Mark Greaney, focuses on a failed coup within China that spurs on the civilian government to make political concessions to military hardliners and begin planning an invasion of Taiwan.
  • The 2015 techno-thriller Ghost Fleet by P.W. Singer and August Cole covers a theoretical World War III between the U.S. and China triggered by major Chinese cyber-attacks against American assets in the Pacific Ocean, a rare throwback to the 1990s era of the America vs. China military fiction plotlines.
  • Ha Jin's novel War Trash depicts the experiences of a Chinese soldier sent with troops to Korea during the 1950-53 conflict.
  • In Gate, Chinese special forces are one of three factions (along with American CIA and Russian Spetznaz) that try to infiltrate Japan and gain access to the titular Gate. All three groups are repelled by the JSDF and Rory Mercury.
  • In its native land, the 1957 Chinese novel Tracks in the Snowy Forest (林海雪原 Lín Hǎi Xuĕ Yuán) by novelist Qū Bō. It tells a fictionalized account of a PLA battalion in 1946-47 to destroy a Guomindang (Nationalist) holdout group that has turned to banditry on a snowy mountain. Parts of the story are true while others are fantasy. The book sold almost 2 million copies by the time of the Cultural Revolution and has received many adaptations to other media:

Live Action TV

  • In The Brave, a PLA platoon shows up at the end of episode 8 "Stealth" to stop the Russian convoy and capture the Spetsnaz squad operating illegally in their country and the remains of the secret Russian stealth drone that crashed near the Mongolian border.
  • In JAG season 7, the two-part "Dog Robber" episodes are based off the April 2001 incident when an American spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet and had to make an emergency landing on a Chinese island, with tensions skyrocketing between the U.S. and China.
  • In SEAL Team, Episode 9 takes place on the Afghanistan/China border where Bravo Team is assigned to search for a Russian defector who crash-landed in the region. They are warned to avoid Chinese military forces, which are never seen. In the second season's Philippines arc, as Bravo is investigating a crashed electronic warfare aircraft that was responsible for recent naval collisions in the South China Sea, Chinese special forces come on the scene to call in an H-6 bomber to destroy the wreckage.
  • Peacekeeping Infantry Battalion (维和步兵营 Wéi Hé Bù Bīng Yíng), a 34-episode series that aired on Chinese TV in October 2017. It concerns a Chinese peacekeeping force in Libya protecting Chinese civilians from terrorist attacks.

Video Games

  • The People's Liberation Army featured in Command & Conquer: Generals. The PRC government issued a ban on said game, considering the portrayal to be insulting. Given that no one buys original software in China, this doesn't really make much of a difference either way. Apparently the CCP objected to the first three missions, which involved a nuclear attack on the capital in one and you blowing up the HK convention center and the Three Gorges Dam in the second and third. That and the fact that the start of the game's plot has the Chinese get the stuffing kicked out of them by terrorists who are uncomfortably close to what it fears. Ironic when you consider the PLA were ultimately the good guys in that game, driving the GLA terrorists out of Western Asia and Central Europe, and in the cancelled sequel, Command and Conquer 2013, they would have been the leader of the Asia-Pacific Alliance. note 
  • Red Alert 2, a previous Command & Conquer game, featured the opposing armies of the Allies and the Soviets. The Chinese weren't happy about the fact that they weren't included, so macho fans made tons of game modifications, which added the PLA as a Purposely Overpowered faction that simply invalidated the use of any other.
    • Also absent in Red Alert 3, though the Paradox mod is scheduled to add THREE Chinese factions (1 full faction called the Atomic Kingdom of China, 2 small ones, the PLA and the Nationalist Army) just as batshit insane as the other factions, drawing inspiration from Atom Punk, Star Trek and Sucker Punch.
  • A slightly higher-tech PLA was one of the playable factions in Battlefield 2, including use of UAVs and advanced command-and-control systems. The Armored Fury expansion pack has them launching an invasion of the United States via Alaska.
    • And Battlefield 2142 featured the PAC, the Pan-Asian Coalition, an alliance between Chinese and Russian military, outfitted with cutting edge technology, including hovertanks, energy weapons on their battlewalkers and VTOL craft fully enclosed in armor with rear projection cockpits, all of that opposed to the more conventional EU forces. They also make a cameo in the Final Stand DLC for Battlefield 4 in a more modern setting.
      • Fridge Logic kicks in when one considers that the PAC lost.
    • And they're back again in Battlefield 4, duking it out with both America and Russia.
  • Project Reality features the PLA, modified from Battlefield 2 to be a more accurate recreation of the real PLA, in a variety of maps usually fighting against the US.
    • Project Reality's Spiritual Successor Squad also featured the People's Liberation Army, initially teased as "Panasia", as part of its 4.0 Red Star Rising update. 5.0 update further adds the People's Liberation Army Navy Marine Corps into the mix.
  • They are the antagonists in the (quite appropriately named) open-world FPS Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising and its sequel Red River.
  • In ARMA III, the PLA along with the Iranian Armed Forces makes up the large portion of the entire CSAT armies. They finally made appearance in Apex expansion as CSAT forces in the South Pacific island of Tanoa, and they share some equipment from their Iranian counterparts in Altis.
  • China is one of the recurring factions in the Mercenaries series, and plenty of their hardware and troops are featured in the games.
  • Chinese soldiers serve as Mooks during the Chinese Embassy levels in the original Splinter Cell. Less of a straight example, since they are led by a rogue nationalist general in league with the Georgian government.
  • Communist China is a playable faction in Hearts of Iron.
  • The PLA is a playable faction in Graviteam Tactics: Zhalanashkol 1969, which covers the fighting along the Kazakh SSR-Xinjiang border in August 1969.
  • Much like in the Red Dawn remake film example above, China was meant to be the opposing army in both Homefront and the first Crysis until it was changed to North Korea.
  • The Chinese military plays an important role in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. If you complete all the optional Strike Force missions, they will also assist you in the final mission.
  • The final chapter of World in Conflict has China allying with the Soviet Union against the United States and NATO. A loading screen shows them launching offensives in Asia against South Korea, India, and Taiwan. To make matters worse, they are sending a whole bunch of fresh troops to the American west coast to reinforce the Soviet invaders in Washington State (and given just how many troops China has at it's disposal that's a VERY BAD thing). So the final three missions of the game have the U.S. forces desperately trying to liberate Seattle and drive the Soviets off American soil to stop the Chinese. (It's stated in-game that the Chinese do not have the ability to stage an effective amphibious assault of their own which is why they need the Soviet beachead.)
  • One of the enemies fought as Novaya Russia in the 20 Minutes into the Future campaign of Empire Earth is China. Mostly an aversion, as there's no mention of whether they're still communist at this point, and their military consists of the same advanced units and robots as the rest of the game. Oh, and they're researching Time Travel.
  • While they suspiciously don't appear in Resident Evil 6 (the role was handed over to the BSAA), some of their equipment such as the Z-10 attack helicopter and Aérospatiale Gazelle note  are utilized by both the villains and the heroes, respectively. In addition, the Big Bad unexplainably a hijacked a PLA-N aircraft carrier.
    • While not a PLA but an MSS agent, Fong Ling in Resident Evil: Dead Aim may count as one. Plus, we are introduced to a Chinese military Kill Sat later in the game.
  • SSN, a 1996 PC simulation game where the player commands the USS Cheyenne, a nuclear submarine tasked with stopping a Chinese naval invasion of the Spratly Islands.
  • In World War 3, the People's Liberation Army was added as one of new soldier blueprints in Operation Redline alongside South Korean 707th Special Mission Group. The same DLC also features Chinese main battle tank ZTZ-99 as a new Strike.