China’s Xi Jinping urges troops to ‘focus on the battlefield’ during trip to military medical school

China’s Xi Jinping urges troops to ‘focus on the battlefield’ during trip to military medical school

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited an army medical university and called on students and military personnel to “focus on the battlefield” as Beijing steps up its war readiness.

Xi visited Army Medical University in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing on Tuesday to examine the university’s academic work in battlefield medicine and inspected its battlefield emergency medical equipment, according to a report by state news agency Xinhua on Thursday.

General He Weidong, the second-ranked vice-chairman of China’s powerful Central Military Commission, accompanied Xi during his visit to the university, which was part of a three-day inspection trip to Chongqing municipality that concluded on Wednesday.

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According to Xinhua, Xi called for strengthening logistical support, improving the combat effectiveness of troops, and promoting the physical and mental well-being of officers and soldiers.

“It is necessary to adhere to moral education and personnel training for combat readiness, deepen educational and teaching reforms, and cultivate a new generation of red military doctors who are morally upright and capable,” Xi said.

Army Medical University specialises in fields such as high-altitude military medicine, war trauma medicine and burn medicine, according to its website.

It also has China’s only national laboratory for research on injuries including trauma, burns, and composite injuries.

Xinhua praised the university for “persistently prioritising military needs, advancing innovative development, and excelling in fulfilling major tasks” in military medical support and for China’s Covid-19 response.

Xi called on the institution to “vigorously promote innovative research in specialised medical fields, consolidate traditional strengths, seize the forefront of development, and strive for excellence in military medical science”.

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Beijing has been improving the war readiness of the People’s Liberation Army and allocating more resources to military logistics, personnel training and key weapons as it faces a more complex external environment.

In September of last year, the PLA’s Eastern Theatre Command General Hospital held a medical support exercise in which field surgery vehicles rushed to a coastal battlefield to rescue wounded soldiers.

The PLA Eastern Theatre Command has tested the use of helicopters and drones to rescue wounded soldiers from islands off the coast of Zhejiang province. Military analysts told the Post last year that the exercise was meant to prepare for a possible military conflict near coastal islands and in the Taiwan Strait.

China’s annual military budget has grown by 7.2 per cent annually for the past two years – higher than the country’s 2024 economic growth target of 5 per cent.

During China’s annual parliamentary session in March, PLA spokesman Wu Qian said the growing defence budget would be directed towards improving combat readiness and preparing for wars as “challenges persist at home and abroad”.

“The instability and uncertainty of the security situation we face have increased, and the task of the military struggle is arduous and burdensome,” Wu said, adding that international military conflicts had broken out and China’s domestic anti-separatist struggle was “complex and grim”.

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