A Zhurihe timeline

  1. Tank in Zhurihe


    A tank tactical training base is set up in Zhurihe

  2. Investment


    China decides to build a “first-class” training centre at Zhurihe, to help the army prepare for future “hi-tech battles”

  3. Opening


    Foreign military officials allowed to visit Zhurihe for the first time

  4. Showcase


    Military observers from 24 countries, including US, Russia and Britain, invited to attend a military exercise at Zhurihe

  5. Peace Mission


    China hosts “Peace Mission 2014” anti-terrorism drills at Zhurihe, with troops from Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
    PLA starts to conduct the annual “Stride” exercises at Zhurihe with a dedicated blue force combating red forces from across the country

President Xi Jinping is tipped to visit a military training base in a remote part of northern China, 400km northwest of Beijing, to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.

The Zhurihe Combined Tactics Training Base, China’s biggest military training ground, has been hosting live-fire exercises to prepare Chinese troops for future wars for almost 60 years

What is Zhurihe and what facilities does it have?

The Zhurihe base is a massive military training facility located deep in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region

At Zhurihe, PLA troops have mock battles in grasslands, hills and deserts. Clips broadcast by state-controlled China Central Television have shown soldiers fighting near a building that closely resembled Taiwan’s Presidential Office Building, suggesting Taipei is a likely target of the PLA’s urban combat training

Early 2016, China reorganised its seven military regions into five theater commands. (South, North, West, East and Central)

Mainland media reports say the base covers an area of 1,066 sq km — nearly equivalent to the total land area of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and more than 13 times the size of Hong Kong Island

The 2015 controversy

A minor controversy erupted in 2015, when footage emerged of “red force” infantry storming a building that resembled Taiwan’s Presidential Office Building in Taipei

Google Earth images shows the controvelsial building complete on December 2014. Image Google Earth digital globe.
A 100-metre-high tower resembles the Eiffel Tower of Paris (300 metres) and is similar to another 1:3 scale imitation in Hangzhou. A tower of this height could be useful for telecommunications across the 1,066 sq km base. Image Google Earth digital globe.
A 1,200-metre-long dummy airstrip resembles Taiwan’s Taitung air force base. Image Google Earth digital globe.


Many countries have so-called opposing forces dedicated to playing enemy units in military training. In the West, the opposing force is usually called the red army, but that colour, highly symbolic for communist states, represents the PLA side in China

Opposing “blue forces”

Although the unit is equipped largely with obsolete equipment, such as Type 59 main battle tanks and Type 63 armoured personnel carriers, its strengths are in its deep integration and combined operations

In 2015, in order to better imitate the US Army, the blue army was given upgraded weapons and artillery, including the advanced 096A main battle tank, Type 07 self-propelled artillery and an early warning system

Visiting “red forces”

One of the key issues identified during the exercises has been the proper use of new equipment. Several of the formations defeated by the “blue force” possessed the PLA’s most advanced hardware, including Type 99 and Type 96 main battle tanks as well as Type 04 infantry fighting vehicles