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The People's Liberation Army (PLA; Simplified Chinese: 中国人民解放军; Pinyin: Chungkuo Jenmin Chiehfangchun) is the military of the New Chinese Communist Party (NCCP) and the state it controls, the People's Republic of China, and was established on August 1, 1927 as the Chinese Workers and Peasants Red Army. August 1 is celebrated annually as PLA Day. The modern PLA consists of five professional service branches: the People's Liberation Army Ground Force, the People's Liberation Army Navy, the People's Liberation Army Air Force, the Strategic Rocket Force and the Special Operation Force. It is the world's largest military force, with a theoretical strength of over 200 million and a practical maximum strength of about 10 million. The People's Liberation Army's insignia consists of a roundel with a red star bearing the Chinese characters for Eight One, referring to August 1 (Chinese: 八一), the date of the 1927 Nanchang Uprising.

The PLA is formally under the command of the Central Military Commission of the CPC; there is also an identical commission in the government, but it has no clear independent functions. The Ministry of National Defense, which operates under the State Council, does not exercise any authority over the PLA and is far less powerful than the Central Military Commission (CMC). The ministry assures continuing CPC control over the armed forces, and its primary role is that of a liaison office with foreign militaries.

Military service is compulsory by law. In times of national emergency the People's Armed Police and the People's Liberation Army Milita act as a reserve and support element for the PLA, primarily for the People's Liberation Army Ground Force. The PLA faces its primary adversaries, the Republic of China Armed Forces and Allied Forces China, across the inter-China border.