Friday, August 20, 2004

Military Madness
I just discovered that the People's Liberation Army has an English language website and it exceeded my wildest expectations. It's certainly comprehensive - covering everything from "Mao Zedeng -- Great Forever" and "Taiwan Question" to a guide to PLA songs, uniforms, shoes, weapons, barracks life, history and - the best part - bilingual military phrase lessons called Military English Learning.
I went to that wondering if it would have the equivalent of the military English I learned while enduring 3 years in the US Army. That vocabulary was a combination of acronyms - both official (AWOL, KIA, etc. and more obscure ones like KATUSA - Korean Augmentation to the US Army), unofficial (FTA - fuck the army) and a plethora of colorful obscenities and quaint expressions ("Hornier than a three-peckered billy goat") to which a sheltered young man from Boulder, Colorado had not been previously exposed.
No, there is none of that, but there are a range of sections including one on "Ordering Enemy to Surrender" that includes the following phrases in English and Chinese:- You are defeated!, You have been surrounded!, We don't kill our captives., We treat POWs well, Put your hands up! Higher!, Stop resistance!, Security of your life is guaranteed!, and Don't die for nothing!.
But after you've captured the aggressor, you still have to interrogate him -- a helpful detail that the PLA website doesn't overlook under "Interrogation of POWs".
Questions run from basics like name, rank and hometown, to stuff no self-respecting soldier is expected to divulge ( What's the total strength of your unit?, What is the morale of your unit?) to pithy queries and statements such as: Do you know our lenient policy towards POWs?, Be lenient towards those who confess their crimes!, The chief criminals shall be punished without fail! and Those who are accomplice under duress shall go unpunished!.
Here's the home link for anyone who wants to learn more.
In the meantime, remember to Please have a look at the sand table of our unit ("Visiting Barracks") and that The shooting range is large enough to carry out all the shooting practice ("Visiting Barracks").

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