Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Chinese Military Might - Then and Now

For my Christmas present last year, one of my boys gave me the DVD HD box set of "The Three Kingdoms" which is currently aired over ASTRO on C304. I love military warfare, not the modern day type, but those in historic times and "The Three Kingdoms" is one of them. "The Three Kingdoms" was about three warring states in a bid to unite China under one emperor. The Han Dynasty was coming to an end and whoever come out tops will have the opportunity to establish a new dynasty. It is interesting to note that out of the 96 episodes, there are few scenes on major battles as the dialogues were confined to the planing of military strategies and tactics, then followed by the battle scenes. The elements of Sun Tzu's Art of War are also present in the series.

After watching the series, I decided to make a search on the military might of China of then and now, and this is what I found out.


This is the period of the Qin Dynasty whose emperor was Shih Huang Ti, the same person responsible for initiating the Great Wall of China. The armed forces during this period and the following which is the Han Dyansty, could easily muster one million soldiers to fight at any given time. Rome during this period with its famous Roman Legions, could only muster 50,000 soldiers.

It was fortunate that China did not know anything about world domination then. With its strike force numbering at such a size, they could have easily conquered the world and all of us would be Chinese citizens today.


The armed forces of China today stands at 5,883,828 personnel. After the defeat by the British in the Opium War which ended in 1860, China vowed to never again to face such humiliation again. Thus, plans were initiated to modernize its army. The build-up of the armed forces started in earnest during the Cold War of the sixties and today, it has superceded Russia in terms of technology to such an extent, it has created some discomfort for the Americans. The recent expose of China's new stealth fighter planes, the J-20, became an added concern for the Americans.

When the Americans show concern, it is time that the whole world had better sit up and take notice for one will never know when the Dragon will rise.

After the second world, there was a meeting of world leaders. Sir Winston Chuchill proudly told Mao Tse Tung, "On every beach, you will find an Englishman". Mao replied, "Where the sun shines, you will find a Chinese." And today, the power of China's economic strength is a testimony to this fact. The Chinese are everywhere globally.

Footnote: After watching "The Three Kingdoms", it is regretable to say that it did not help me understand the Mandarin language one bit.Ironically , my Bahasa improved tremendously just by reading the subtitles.

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