As Beijing continues to up its rhetoric against the self-governing island, China has published a new documentary on the army’s preparation to attack Taiwan, featuring soldiers vowing to devote their lives if necessary.
In “Chasing Dreams,” an eight-part documentary series that CCTV aired earlier this week to commemorate the 96th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army, numerous troops profess their willingness to die in the event of an attack against Taiwan.
Taiwan is a self-governing democracy, but China claims it as its own territory, one that it will use force to retake if necessary.
Smooth footage of military training is routinely released by the PLA and state media as propaganda supporting the modernization of the army.
The materials support China’s growing nationalism and show military prowess in the face of Taiwan and, implicitly, its links to the US. Despite not recognizing Taiwan as a sovereign state, the United States has promised to aid the island in defending itself in the event of an invasion.
The White House revealed a $345 million military aid deal for Taiwan last month. Beijing protested the action, which experts claimed was based on the military assistance provided by the United States to Ukraine.
The “Joint Sword” drills that the PLA uses to practice precision attacks on Taiwan were one of the topics included in the “Chasing Dreams” documentary. After Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s trip to the United States in April, the exercises were conducted throughout the self-governing island.
The program’s more dramatic moments include PLA troops from several divisions promising to give up their lives in the event of an invasion on Taiwan. Zuo Feng, a frogman with the PLA Navy’s minesweeper unit, said in a testimony, “If war broke out and the conditions were too difficult to safely remove the naval mines in actual combat, we would use our own bodies to clear a safe pathway for our (landing) forces.”
A pilot from the PLA Air Force’s Wang Hai Squadron named Li Peng echoed him, adding that if he had run out of ammo in an actual conflict, his “fighter jet would be the last missile rushing towards the enemy.
The leader of a special tactics unit, Fan Lizhong, noted in the documentary that while losing friends is hard, he must maintain composure in order to react to crises and always be prepared to fight.
One of China’s three aircraft carriers, Shandong, can be seen cruising in formation with a number of other warships in the documentary.
Over the past few months, the PLA has frequently sent Shandong to the Taiwan Strait as a menace to Taiwan.
Over the past few years, PLA aircraft have also crossed the strait’s median line, an unofficial border between China and Taiwan, very frequently, notably in response to interactions between Taiwan and the US that have enraged Beijing.