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China’s Newest Missiliers

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China’s Second Artillery, sometimes referred to as China’s strategic rocket forces, recently graduated its first female missile brigade. The group of 35 women, including 4 officers, completed the final steps on their 15-month journey toward certification as Chinese missiliers this month. According to the broadcast, 91.4% of the group has completed the U.S. equivalent of a 2-year community college education. Their average age: 23 years old.

Their final test began with a launch order sending them on a long journey outside their base area that included camping in the wild, putting up camouflage and conducting anti-countermeasure exercises. They launched their short-range missile at an unspecified location above 3,000 meters and hit their target.

While the CCTV film clip bears all the hallmarks of a classic piece of People’s Liberation Army propaganda, there is an authenticity to the excitement these young missiliers convey after completing their launch certification requirements in record time. “It’s hard to find the language to describe this feeling,” says the young woman standing at attention for her interview. The photo of the group in the news article is even more expressive.

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About the author: Gregory has lived and worked in China for the better part of the last twenty-five years facilitating exchanges between academic, governmental, and professional organizations in both countries. Since joining the Union of Concerned Scientists in 2002, he has focused on promoting and conducting dialog between Chinese and American experts on nuclear arms control and space security. His areas of expertise are Chinese foreign and security policy, Chinese space program, international arms control, cross-cultural communication. He received his Ph.D. in Political Theory from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1994.

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