What seems to be the case here is not a reduction of military personnel, but a reduction of the truth. The PLA/CCP has never been truthful in regards to military capability, whether it be nuclear forces or military budget, and shouldn’t be expected to now.
“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
The People’s Liberation Army, or PLA, boasts some 850,000 officers spread across seven regional commands, according to the defence report which was issued on Tuesday.
Meanwhile the navy and air force have 235,000 and 398,000 officers respectively.
The PLA contingent is split between command centres in Beijing, Nanjing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Lanzhou, and Jinan, the report says.
The white paper also alludes to China’s powerful “Second Artillery Force”. Described as “the country’s core force for strategic deterrence”, the force oversees China’s nuclear arsenal and is tasked with “deterring other countries from using nuclear weapons against China”.
The total number of service members listed was 1.48 million. In 2006, China said the military had a total of 2.3 million members. It was not clear if the new count represented a real reduction in numbers, or if the shortfall was made up by other ground force units that appeared to have been omitted from the count, including the Second Artillery Force.
Full article: China lays bare its military might with an attack on US ambition (The Telegraph)