“…the international situation is complex and changeable. Border and coastal defenses face security threats and challenges from all quarters and in various forms.”
In October a group of Chinese experts met to discuss their views on China’s progress and efforts to build up the border and coastal defense infrastructure. The following article, published in the official newspaper of the People’s Liberation Army Jiefangjun Bao, offers an interesting overview of their thoughts regarding future expectations. China first launched its border and coastal defense infrastructure project in 1996. According to the article, the country has since gone from “having nothing to having something.” It went from “not being centralized and complete to being scalable and systematic.”
There are reportedly 18,639 miles of border and coastal defense duty routes. Blockades and video monitoring cover key areas. China has stationed hundreds of thousands of militia forces along the border and coastal defense frontlines. They have added transportation support facilities including duty roads, bridges, and docks, focused on connecting border villages to the larger border security infrastructure.
Part of the infrastructure buildup of China’s border and coastal defense includes an increased capacity to conduct information-driven operations (informationization). China has built several thousand monitoring and control stations and centers along key areas in border and coastal defense. It has also laid nearly 6,213 miles of transmission lines. A portion of the border and coastal areas now also includes video monitoring and a “control network for ‘vertical connection and horizontal cohesion.’”
In coming years, China will likely push to automate its border and coastal defense capability, through the “intelligentization” of its processes. A senior engineer, cited in the article, explained that he hopes to shape a “smart chain” that will use new-generation information technologies, such as big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things, to discover, report, make decisions, handle, and evaluate border and coastal defense situations to enhance the three-dimensional smart management and control capabilities.
Pan Di, “筑起坚不可摧的钢铁防线 ——军地共话合力推进边海防基础设施建设 (Building an Indestructible Steel Defensive Line- Joint Military-Civil Promotion of Border, Coastal Defense Infrastructure Building),” Jiefangjun Bao (official newspaper of the People’s Liberation Army), 13 October 2021, http://www.81.cn/jfjbmap/content/2021-10/13/content_300707.htm
China is a major border and coastal defense country. Chairman Xi profoundly pointed out that order and coastal defense work is a major matter for national security and is related to the overall national security and developmental situation.
… since the launch of border and coastal defense infrastructure building in 1996 with unified planning on land and at sea, we have built a large number of duty transport, physical barrier, and informationized management and control facilities.
Liu Jun explained that China has now built more than 30,000 kilometers of border and coastal defense duty routes, with blockades and video monitoring essentially covering key management and control segments. It has taken the first steps in constructing a “three-in-one” management and control system including human, material, and technical defense. It has built a solid defensive line along its vast land and maritime borders.
In recent years, on border and coastal defense frontlines, hundreds of thousands of militia forces are stationed all year round, and their reconnaissance and monitoring, rapid response, and emergency handling capabilities have steadily improved. With the completion of a large number of transportation support facilities such as duty roads, bridges, and docks, many border villages have been connected to roads and offshore islands connected to navigation routes, thus further consolidating the foundation for the development of industries with special advantages such as border trade, cross-border tourism, and island development.
“The continuous advancement of border and coastal defense infrastructure building is the result of joint efforts by the Party, government, military, and police. According to an arrangement made by the Third National Border Defense Work Conference in 1994, a border and coastal defense infrastructure building system was launched in 1996 on the basis of organizing pilot projects.
…a “five-in-one” border management structure with the Party committee providing direction, the government running overall coordination, the military serving as a backbone, the police taking charge of administration, and the people as a foundation, making the iron wall of border and coastal defense even more impenetrable.
In recent years, China’s border and coastal defense infrastructure has intensified its informatization efforts, building several thousand monitoring and control stations and centers along important sections for border and coastal defense and laying nearly 10,000 kilometers of transmission lines. A portion of border and coastal areas have formed a video monitoring and control network for “vertical connection and horizontal cohesion.” Li Guangwei, senior engineer at the Air Force Research Academy, is full of hope for the prospects of smart border and coastal defense. He hopes to shape a “smart chain” in which the whole process of discovering, reporting, making decisions, handling, and evaluating border and coastal defense situations through the application of new-generation information technologies such as big data, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence, breaks through data barriers between the military and civilian sectors to enhance three-dimensional smart management and control capabilities for border and coastal defense.”