By Guo Yuandan
BEIJING, Oct. 13 (ChinaMil) -- For a long time, military enthusiasts in the Chinese mainland have envied Hong Kong residents for their opportunity to visit PLA camps and even board the aircraft carrier.
However, things have changed now. In accordance with the Methods on the Opening of Chinese People's Liberation Army Military Camps, issued by the General Office of China's Central Military Commission on Thursday, a military officer told reporters that military fans in Chinese mainland will be able to visit the aircraft carrier soon.
The PLA Daily released the full text of the Methods on Friday, which stipulates the subject, contents, targets and timing of military camp openings.
"The Methods provide an important basis for the orderly opening of the troops and military camps to civilians," said a military expert on Thursday.
According to the new Methods, the subject of military camp opening is the Chinese military, which shall study and determine, level by level and according to procedure, the military camps and contents that can or cannot be opened. The target of military camp openings is Chinese civilians, and no military units shall be opened to foreigners unless specifically approved.
According to the Methods, an opening troop unit shall work with the relevant departments of the local government to determine visitors and organize necessary qualification reviews and security checks for them.
Many troops have carried out military camp Open Day events in recent years based on their own assessment. For example, military camps in places like Shanghai and Guangzhou are opened to visitors on a trial basis on the Naval Day, Air Force Day and Army Day, receiving tens of thousands of visitors.
The most common military camp Open Day is held by the PLA Hong Kong and Macao garrisons. The Hong Kong garrison opens its military camps every July 1, which is very popular among Hong Kong residents.
Compared with previous Open Day events at military camps, the Methods specify more occasions, areas and units for opening.
Which camps will be opened in the future?
The Methods makes clear the opening troop units are usually divisions, brigades or regiments stationed in the city proper or the suburb, and battalions and companies that are stationed in the city proper or suburb with independent camps can also be opened if conditions permit.
Thus, since divisions, brigades and regiments can be opened, then the aircraft carrier Liaoning and the Type-052D destroyer both meet standards. These vessels are mobile military camps that can sail into the ports and wharves of prosperous cities directly.
Considering that aircraft carrier Liaoning already held an Open Day activity in Hong Kong, military fans can expect to get on the aircraft carrier in the near future.
A source familiar with the matter said the release of the Methods reflects the PLA's efforts to change from a closed group to an open and transparent one, as well as to meet the rising internationalization levels of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.
The expert also said the Methods will be helpful for China to use military resources to guide and reinforce the public's national defense and security awareness, and consolidate the traditional affinity between the military and the civilians.