(PLA). This term refers to all branches of the Chinese military service. The majority of these troops are land forces, dressed in green uniforms. The navy wears blue uniforms; the air force, green and blue uniforms. Presently, the strength of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is estimated at well over 3 million men and women. Although China has a conscription law, the majority of military personnel enlist for periods of from two to six years. In the past, the PLA has enjoyed great prestige, and has performed political, social and economic tasks, as well as military ones. Now, the political role of the PLA has diminished somewhat, as has its prestige. It still performs a variety of non-military tasks, however, and helps sustain itself through economic activities of various sorts. The major policy-making organ of the PLA is the Military Affairs Commission of the CCP Central Committee.
consists of officers and men in active service and in reserve. The active forces are made up of the Army, Navy, Air Force, 2nd Artillery Corps, military schools and national defense scientific research institutions.