Jeffrey LewisWho says China is not transparent?

I was reading the Jiefangjun Bao (PLA Daily) when I came across a most unusual column. It appears that someone felt that a CCTV program called “The Missile Brigade Commander” lacked realism. So, in case you had any questions, this is how a brigade commander oversees the launch of a Chinese ballistic missile:

The television series “The Missile Brigade Commander” is a rare specimen of television artistry. However, I believe that there are mistakes in a few places.

First of all, when the unit was on the move and a spy satellite was approaching the war zone, the convoy was going into the Lianhuaqiao (Lianhua Bridge) tunnel to hide when a combat vehicle which was about to enter the tunnel broke down (pa wo). At this critical moment, the brigade commander ordered the crews of the other vehicles to come and help push the disabled vehicle into the tunnel, after which the other vehicles entered the tunnel in proper sequence to conceal themselves. This scene lacked realism. The road through the Lianhuaqiao tunnel is actually quite wide, and it is entirely feasible for at least two combat vehicles to enter it side-by-side. In this scene, the vehicles behind the one which broke down should have been sent into the tunnel to hide first, after which people would come back and push the broken down vehicle. The way the brigade commander in the show handled this situation exhibited a lack of common knowledge about convoys.

In another set of scenes involving a cSecond, in the show the unit is organizing a live-fire launch, and Deputy Brigade Commander Song and the political commissar are standing at the launch position giving the launch order. This is not right. According to regulations, during a unit/’s live-fire launch, the commander is supposed to issue the launch order from inside the command post, and not stand at the site issuing the order while talking to the political commissar. As the commander of the live-fire launch, it is not possible just to listen to the lower echelon/’s report and immediately say “all right” and issue the order without having a grasp of various tactical and technical parameters. Also, Deputy Brigade Commander Song and the political commissar are standing at the side of the launch position, which does not conform to safety requirements.

Third, after the Huaxia 08 is delivered to the designated vehicle unloading stand, Jiang Hao (Commander of the “Dongfang Brigade”) orders it unloaded. But in the scene, what the viewers see is obviously a hardstand for passenger vehicles, and not one for cargo vehicles. How could a platform such as that one be used to unload the Huaxia 08 from a flatbed truck? Besides this, during the process of transporting the Huaxia 08, the road passes by the mouth of railroad tunnel where several soldiers are standing guard. This also does not conform to real life, because a railroad tunnel entrance could not have soldiers standing guard as was shown in that scene.

I haven’t double checked all of the statements yet (or altered the suspected typographical error)–I was more amused by just the thought of an indignant brigade commander.

Source: Han Junhua, “Some Mistakes in the Series, /’The Missile Brigade Commander/’,” Jiefangjun Bao (December 13, 2002) CPP-2002-1008000190.