"Opposing force" helps China toughen up troops
                 English.news.cn | 2014-08-03 15:57:12 | Editor: An

BEIJING, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese military exercise aimed at toughening up its troops by making soldiers practice as if they were fighting a real war has offered valuable new training methods.

According to a Sunday report in the People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China, the country's first permanent professional "opposing force", an infantry brigade from Beijing Military Area Command, also joined the exercise which ended on Monday.

The report said that unlike previous exercises, which were usually scripted, this year's exercise was "for real". The red teams were from seven military area commands while the blue team, or the "opposing force", played the enemy.

Before the exercise started, no one knew what was going to happen, said the report. In the end, the blue team won six out of seven battles, defeating every area command except Shenyang.

Wan Fazhong, Brigade Commander of a red team from Lanzhou Military Area Command, was quoted in the paper as saying that the exercise was the first step for the army to become combat-ready.

"The more the opposing force resembles the enemy, the more we can toughen up our combat capabilities," said Wan.

On July 31, Geng Yansheng, a Ministry of Defense spokesman, said at a press conference that China has established its first professional "opposing force" and that it was an important step to strengthen real combat training.

Geng said what kind of enemy the "opposing force" would play will be decided by the purpose and content of the training.

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