The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy frigate Huizhou is seen past visitors at the Ngong Shuen Chau naval base on Stonecutters Island in Hong Kong on July 8, 2017, during the PLA Hong Kong Garrison's open day held as part of 20th anniversary celebrations marking the SAR's return to China. (TENGKU BAHAR / AFP)
The People's Liberation Army has published guidelines on how and when barracks of some units can be opened to the public, aiming to boost awareness of national defense.
The guidelines were made and published by the Central Military Commission's General Office and have been put into effect. The idea is to display the PLA's "new images", strengthen the public's passion for the military and their respect toward service members and encourage officers and soldiers to dedicate themselves to building a strong military, according to a news release from the office.
This is the first time the Chinese military has issued specific rules regarding open houses at its units. Previously, PLA units conducted such activities in accordance with their own plans and schedules.
Fighting branches, such as the PLA Ground Force and PLA Navy and large military institutes like the Academy of Military Science, will select which of their units can be opened and then submit their choices to the commission's National Defense Mobilization Department. The department will then work with other agencies under the commission and related theater commands to review and approve the selection.
Units to be opened to the public should be suitable divisions, brigades and regiments stationed in or near cities or towns. On certain occasions, battalions and companies near urban areas also can hold open houses. Selected units must receive approval from security management authorities of higher units before hosting an open house, the regulations stipulate.
Open houses will mainly be held on national holidays, including National Day and May Day, as well as dates pertaining to the military such as the National Defense Awareness Day each September.
Visitors from the public must be Chinese nationals unless the units are permitted to receive foreigners. After security checks, they will be given a guided tour to the unit's history museum, nonclassified training sessions, and soldiers' residences and entertainment venues. Facilities and exercises concerning combat command, intelligence, communications, sensitive documents, weapons and fuels will not be opened, according to the regulation.
"An open house can offer visitors a good opportunity to see the military's barrack cultures, troops' high fighting spirit and achievements gained through the ongoing reforms," an officer of the PLA National Defense Education Office said in the release. "It can also enhance the public's understanding and confidence in our armed forces."