High-pressure oxygen therapy and portable barracks are being introduced to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to boost the People's Liberation Army (PLA) combat capability, a Chinese expert said on Monday.
All frontline training troops and border outposts have been equipped with oxygen generators and oxygen cylinders, the official PLA website 81.cn reported Sunday.
Army Medical University's Xinqiao Hospital in Xigaze, Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, is developing a high-pressure oxygen therapy that could effectively solve altitude stress for troops stationed on the plateau, PLA Daily reported on Monday.
Oxygen therapy used to cure brain damage and carbon monoxide poisoning can be calibrated for high altitude.
The improved therapy has proved effective against altitude stress, 81.cn reported.
Oxygen stations have been built along border roads for soldiers to recover stamina.
"Altitude stress makes troops have breathing difficulties, results in headaches and insomnia," a former military officer who served in Tibet told the Global Times on Monday. He refused to be named.
Thin air damages combat capability, lowering troops' strength and durability, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday.
Applying oxygen therapy helped soldiers to recover in the harsh conditions and enhanced their combat capabilities, he said.
The PLA is also improving troops' quality of life, the 81.cn report said.
Beginning last year, portable barracks specifically designed for plateau areas have been replacing the old prefabricated houses at Tibetan military bases.
Their design and materials make them sturdy, moisture-proof and cold-resistant, keeping the room temperature at 15 C even in the worst of snow storms, the report said.
Equipped with cutting-edge camouflage nets, the barracks are difficult to detect and suitable for field operations, the website reported.
Phone cover is increasingly available in all training zones enabling the troops to make calls or surf the internet.
The combined challenge of thin air and low temperatures makes winters in Tibet difficult for troops.
Many soldiers and officers suffer frostbite in Tibet, the former military officer said, noting the new facilities provide strong logistical support and ensured the troops' combat capability.
Four warm meals and soup are now included in the canteen meal.
New barracks and other improvements can let troops have enough rest and guarantee their quality of life so that they can work together with better morale, according to Song.
"Logistical support is essential to plateau combat," Song said.