Description of the Chinese armed forces (PLA - People's Liberation Army) have to devote a few articles, so it is large and complex. Here we will focus on some of the general points relating to Russia's relations with China, China's development in general and in particular the PLA.
Post-Soviet Russia and China today are not allies, and never have been. This is the official position of Beijing ("the relationship between China and Russia is not a military alliance relationships, and are not directed against third countries") and the actual state of affairs. The fact that Russia and China, as a rule, the same vote in the UN Security Council, is determined by the coincidence of the positions, not allied relations.
On some matters of principle positions of Moscow and Beijing to radically diverge. The most striking example - the consequences of the August 2008 war in the Caucasus. Beijing is not only recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but in a slightly veiled form supported Georgia.
Military cooperation is completely emasculated and take candid ritual. The scale of the Russian-Chinese exercises every year is getting smaller (this is compensated by the official lies that the scale, on the contrary, is growing, although there is nothing stopping to check the public data), scenario of - more formal and far-fetched. At the same time both Moscow and Beijing is advantageous that in the West they are considered allies. Therefore, both sides in full agreement told foreign audience about a "strategic partnership" and "unprecedented good relations", though in practical terms these statements does not cost anything.
China is much more aggressive than the US, "squeezes" with post-Soviet Russia. Washington's actions are accompanied by a great noise, but in the end turn into nothing. In particular, no one now can say what practical benefits (economic, political and military) received from the US "color revolutions" in Ukraine and Georgia. Actually - no. Beijing is in the typical style for himself "rolls" in the former Soviet Union as an ice rink, which can not be stopped.
Russia is now struggling to block the activity of China within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), but too late. This structure has become not "anti-NATO", as Moscow wanted, and in a very effective tool for economic seizure Central Asia China. Energy and transport projects in Beijing in all five countries in the region will lead to almost complete loss of Russian influence. And now China is very active and, most likely, not less successful buys European countries of the former Soviet Union - Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova.
In this regard, Beijing expresses extreme displeasure all Russian integration projects in the post-Soviet space. Higher face of China shall refrain from statements on the matter. Lower level officials as well as scientists and experts, openly declare that even the development of the Eurasian Economic Community, Collective Security Treaty Organization, and even more so - the Customs Union, rolling in the Eurasian Union, contrary to the interests of China.
Statements in Moscow that the surrender islands in the Amur in front of Khabarovsk in 2004 finally closed the border issue with China, unfortunately, are without foundation. China, probably the only country in the world, which has territorial claims to all neighbors without exception. Under all of these claims placed upon sound scientific basis, and in terms of the propaganda they are literally built into the cult. At different times the intensity of the claims for each of the neighbors is increased or decreased depending on the political and economic situation, but on their own claims never canceled. The largest claims are made it to Russia. The thesis that the current Russian-Chinese border is set on the "unfair and unequal treaties" in China is a really concrete character. Russian "mini-surrender" in 2004 did this thesis is not affected.
Beijing is experiencing an acute internal problems, which are based on overpopulation. Lack of resources and arable land, disastrous environmental situation, unemployment, an aging population, "shortage of brides" - are tied in a knot, which is extremely difficult to unravel. The situation is such that the solution of one problem aggravates one or more others. The rapid economic growth of China solves one problem but creates others. The same applies to the policy of "one family - one child". Unravel the knot of problems can only external expansion, it is an objective fact.
Western estimates of the size of China's nuclear arsenal (200-250 charges) are so absurd that they do not make sense to comment. Lowest low - 3, 5 thousand charges, in reality, they probably many times more. Not less, but more often absurd explanations why China en masse build cities where no one lives and underground shelters in the cities of today (and that, and another - in the millions). The logical explanation of both is only one - the preparations for nuclear war. But this explanation is so unpleasant and uncomfortable all that to say, and it is forbidden to write.
In Russia, many sincerely believe that the old Soviet anecdote, as in China during the test the newest fighter crashed, killing the pilot and three 15 firemen are still relevant. Alas, it has nothing to do with life. Likewise, it does not have any relation actively imposed on the myth that the new equipment is made in China, "small quantities" and lags far behind in quality from foreign counterparts.
In fact, in the last 15 years, the PLA held re analogues hard to find in modern history. This is facilitated by the presence of powerful military-industrial complex. It is composed of 24 enterprises of the nuclear industry, 12 enterprises of the final assembly of the space industry, nine aircraft factories final assembly, 14 plants for the production of armor (three tank), 20 assembly plants artillery equipment, more than 200 industrial enterprises Ammunition, 23 major shipyard on 736 repair and construction sites. The total number of enterprises is several thousand.
Over the years, the Chinese defense industry reform has reached a qualitatively new level of development. It is capable of producing a significant amount of military equipment came out on top in the world in production of equipment and weapons of all classes. Today in China annually produces more than 300 combat aircraft and helicopters (about 150 both) not fewer tanks, 30 submarines and surface combat ships and boats. In the production of almost all classes and types of equipment China today exceeds all NATO countries combined, and in some cases (in particular, the tanks) - all countries of the world combined. In this regard, the myth of the production of arms to China, "small parties" looks like a very bad anecdote. If today to any country in the world apply the term "arms race", it is China. The old machinery replaced by a new principle of "one to one" rather than "one in four" or "one to ten", both in the West and in Russia. Nevertheless, the myth of the "small parties" supported with surprising tenacity. In particular, many references data on the number of Chinese art somehow frozen in the period 2005-2007, even though in subsequent years the pace of its steel production is particularly high.
It is gone for good quality lag. More precisely, it is no longer fundamentally. Back in the late 90s the PLA's tank fleet, consisting of different "variations on the theme of" T-55 really could not compete with either the Russian or American. Quality backlog of Chinese cars has been so great that the number does not play any role. Now the latest Chinese tanks and Tour 96 Tour 99 can be slightly inferior to "Abrams" M1A2SEP, "Leopard-2A6" or T-90C, but definitely no worse than the M1A1, "Leopard-2A4" and T-72. This was confirmed in last year's fighting between Sudan and South Sudan, where the Sudanese Tour 96 without loss to themselves out several South Sudanese T-72. Now the outcome of the battles of the Chinese tanks with Russian and Western will be determined not by the quality and the tactical situation, crew training and, most importantly, the amount. Namely this is not equal to China. The slight lag as now easily compensated by superiority in numbers. A similar situation in the aviation industry and in all other classes of equipment.
We love to retell American publications that China is now a priority is developing the Navy (Navy). This is another myth. Just Americans with China on the land will not be known to fight, so pay attention to the fleet. In fact, China is a priority develops all. His Navy focused primarily on the war with the United States and Japan. Air Force - to war with anyone. And the Army - at war with us. For example, recent Chinese BMP WZ-502G Tower and forehead body kept getting 30-mm armor-piercing projectiles from a distance of 1 kilometer, and the body side - hit 14, 5 mm ammunition 200 meters. By interesting coincidence, 30 millimeters - this caliber gun 2A42, which is the main armament of the Russian BMP-2. In the US BMP "Bradley" is set a 25-mm gun M242. And 14, 5 mm - is generally unique caliber. It has only one machine gun in the world - our KPVT, the main armament of Russian armored vehicles. The maximum size of Western guns - 12, 7 millimeters. This fact seems insignificant, but in fact indicative.
All these facts - the objective is vital to China's external expansion, territorial claims to all, an unprecedented arms race in conjunction with preparations for a nuclear war - you can continue to ignore. Only then do not be surprised.
Now for the very widespread in Russia, the thesis that we need to be friends with China against the West. Firstly, we have to be friends with China is not going at all. Secondly, all the Chinese problem, the output of which is external expansion arose in this country and the West have nothing. Accordingly, the opposition of relations with the West and China is absolutely senseless. That is the nature of our relations with the West in general does not affect the above Chinese reality.
As for the least common of the thesis that the West wants us to play off with China and "cover" Russia from it: we can say that, most likely, the situation is reversed: the West sees China as a deterrent against Russia. Just for purely geographical and historical reasons, there are afraid of Russia far more than China. In addition, China is now perceived as infallible hopefully useful consumer goods supplier, and Russia - as an aggressive oil and gas blackmailer. Russia demonized the West is much stronger than China. In particular, the Russian military capabilities and intentions constantly overestimated, Chinese - underestimated. It must convince its own public opinion, that is a threat to Russia, but not China. Since the war with Russia, the West is categorically not ready (not only attack, but even defend), he'd like us to keep China. And he did not disappoint.