Normally, you’d think “ferries” and ask “so what?” Here’s the deal in a nutshell: Load the ferries with PLA personnel disguised as civilians or mixed in with actual civilians and tourists, and run them as a ferry service for a time before you decide to invade. During the course of this time, the key people you ship over will lay the groundwork with sabotage in Taiwan as preparatory measures to weaken the enemy and limit its capacity to respond, along with identifying critical targets that first need to be hit. The ferries would serve mostly for this purpose as an actual Chinese naval flotilla would cause alarm. The flotilla is what comes in next after the preparations have been finished and the CCP gives the green light to invade. During the course of war, these ferries would just be an ‘extra’ to boost the capacity of soldiers being sent over. It’s also important to note a lot of these ferries could house missiles ready to be launched on command. For a comparable example, please see HERE for what a missile hidden in a shipping container looks like.
A series of Chinese military exercises between late May and early June showcased the ability of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to project land, air, and naval power into the area around Taiwan.
While China has made no official connection, the exercises also coincided with the 29 May to 3 June visit to the United States of Tsai Ing Wen, the leader of the anti-unification Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who could win the presidency in elections scheduled for 2016.
Perhaps the most interesting was the PLA Daily ‘s 10 June review of a mobility exercise from late May in which a 20,000-ton civilian roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) ferry was assigned to the Transportation Department of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). It transported personnel and trucks from the Bohai Sea to the South China Sea.
To compensate for the relatively small size of its formal naval amphibious transport fleet the PLA has co-funded construction of a large number of ferries used by civilian companies. They will be made available to the PLA during emergencies and are a frequent element in civil-military transport exercises.
The PLA Daily article featured an image of an officer giving a briefing with a digitally barely concealed map of Taiwan. In early 2014 an Asian government source told IHS Jane’s that with combined military-civil transport, the PLA could move eight to 12 divisions to Taiwan.
Full article: China practices Taiwan invasion with civilian ferries, bomber flights in Bashi Channel (IHS Jane’s 360)