Women taking up all possible roles in PLA operations
Published: Apr 09, 2019 05:23 PM

Six female soldiers from the People's Liberation Army Air Defense division participate in a drill in the Gobi Desert in August 2016. The drill dicates that each soldier be given a 30-kilogram cable, and that every team be allotted 15 minutes to construct a communications cable with a 5-kilometer range. The soldiers train for eight consecutive hours every day. Over the 10 days of training, many soldiers lose weight thanks to the hard physical labor. Photo:

Women who are members of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) are showing valor and fortitude no less than men, as they are assigned challenging positions including operating tanks and anti-aircraft missiles, flying fighter jets, and as paratroopers and members of special operations, according to media reports.

Xu Liying, a member at the PLA 75th Group Army, joined the newly established female special force team in 2018. Within a year, she mastered special weaponry and special operation skills including close quarters combat, wall climbing and rappelling from a helicopter, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Monday.

Xu's team members have all achieved standard strength requirements and should not be set apart from their male counterparts. "I am a special forces member before I am a female soldier," Xu told CCTV.

Female tank drivers of the PLA are capable of loading cannon shells and batteries weighing more than 50 kilograms, the PLA Daily reported on March 27 in an interview with Wu Wenling, one of the first female tank operators in the 75th Group Army.

In air defense, a team made up entirely of women emerged victorious in a February examination against a male team. While operating anti-aircraft missiles also requires strength, female soldiers were masters of the control panel, as female soldier Qin Chunlian deployed the missiles without looking at the control panel, which saved time, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Female soldiers are also taking up a variety of other posts including airborne troops and fighter pilots, according to media reports.

"Many people think the military is a world of men, and women can only do communication and medical care. But in fact, they have been undertaking more and more tasks and finishing missions the same as men," a female PLA veteran surnamed Wang told the Global Times on Tuesday.

In some special tasks, women outperformed men, Wang said, recalling that when she was on an urgent mission to Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, many male soldiers on her team suffered altitude stress, while female soldiers were less affected, enabling the team to finish the mission in time.