Ranks of the People's Liberation Army Ground Force

Summary

The People's Liberation Army has not always used ranks or insignia. In common with the practice of the Red Army at the time of its founding in 1927, neither were used until 1955 when a system of ranks was established. As a result of the Cultural Revolution, ranks were abolished in May 1965. After the Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979, reforms in the PLA began to be made to professionalize the armed forces once more. The 1984 Military Service Law provided for the resumption of rank, but disagreements on what ranks were to be used and who would receive them caused the revival of rank to be delayed until 1988. The following ranks and their respective insignia shown are those used by the People's Liberation Army Ground Force.

Current ranking system

PLAGF officers

The current system of officer ranks and insignia, a revision of the ranks and insignia established in 1955, began usage in 1988. The 1955 to 1965 marshal officer ranks of yuánshuài (5-star Marshal) and dà yuánshuài (6-star grand marshal) were not revived. The general officer ranks (jiang) were revised by the addition of semi-circular wreath at the bottom of the insignia and by a change in the name of the highest general officer rank from da jiang (4-star General) to yi ji shang jiang (4-star first class colonel general). This highest rank in the new system was never held and was abolished in 1994. The field officer (Xiao) and company officer (Wei) ranks were the same in title and insignia except that highest company-level officer rank of Da Wei in the 1955 to 1965 system was not included in the revived ranks. The final difference between the two systems is that in 1955 to 1965 there existed a warrant officer rank, Zhun Wei, which was not incorporated in the revived rank system, while new system had a rank for officer cadets, Xue Yuan. Despite being the rank below Shao Wei in both systems, the insignia have no similarities.

Officer rank names are usually not translated literally, but rather to a corresponding rank system. This can lead to different translations being used depending on the system chosen for the correspondences. The 1955–1965 system, with its greater number of officer ranks, is usually translated using the Soviet rank system of that era, while the modern officer ranks are usually given a NATO rank correspondence. For example, the non-literal translation used for the rank of Shang Jiang (literally "senior general") depends on whether one is comparing it to Soviet or Russian ranks (colonel general) or to British or U.S. ranks (general).

Title 上将
Shang jiang
中将
Zhong jiang
少将
Shao jiang
大校
Da xiao
上校
Shang xiao
中校
Zhong xiao
少校
Shao xiao
上尉
Shang wei
中尉
Zhong wei
少尉
Shao wei
学员
Xue yuan
Equivalent translation General Lieutenant general Major general Senior colonel Colonel Lieutenant colonel Major Captain First lieutenant Second lieutenant Officer cadet
Collar insignia PLAGF-Collar-0720-GEN.png PLAGF-Collar-0719-LTG.png PLAGF-Collar-0718-MG.png PLAGF-Collar-0717-SNC.png PLAGF-Collar-0716-COL.png PLAGF-Collar-0715-LTC.png PLAGF-Collar-0714-MAJ.png PLAGF-Collar-0713-CPT.png PLAGF-Collar-0712-1LT.png PLAGF-Collar-0711-2LT.png PLAGF-Collar-0710-CDT.png
Shoulder insignia PLAGF-0720-GEN.png PLAGF-0719-LTG.png PLAGF-0718-MG.png PLAGF-0717-SNC.png PLAGF-0716-COL.png PLAGF-0715-LTC.png PLAGF-0714-MAJ.png PLAGF-0713-CPT.png PLAGF-0712-1LT.png PLAGF-0711-2LT.png PLAGF-0710-CDT.png

PLAGF other ranks personnel

The current system of other ranks and insignia dates from 2009.[1]

Unlike NATO countries, new recruits of the People's Liberation Army have no military ranks before the boot camp is completed, and they will be awarded the rank of Private/Seaman Apprentice/Airman (All collectively called "Private" or "Lie Bing" in the Chinese Language) after they have graduated from the boot camp.[2] According to Article 16 of Chapter 3 of the "Regulations on the Service of Active Soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army" (Chinese: 中国人民解放军现役士兵服役条例), "The lowest enlisted rank is Private".[2]

Title 一级军士长
Yi ji jun shi zhang
二级军士长
Er ji jun shi zhang
三级军士长
San ji jun shi zhang
四级军士长
Si ji jun shi zhang
上士
Shang shi
中士
Zhong shi
下士
Xia shi
上等兵
Shang deng bing
列兵
Lie bing
Equivalent translation Master sergeant first class Master sergeant second class Master sergeant third class Master sergeant fourth class Senior sergeant Sergeant Junior sergeant Private first class Private
Collar insignia PLAGF-Collar-0709-1CSGT.png PLAGF-Collar-0708-2CSGT.png PLAGF-Collar-0707-3CSGT.png PLAGF-Collar-0706-4CSGT.png PLAGF-Collar-0705-SSG.png PLAGF-Collar-0704-SGT.png PLAGF-Collar-0703-CPL.png PLAGF-Collar-0702-PFC.png PLAGF-Collar-0701-PVT.png
Shoulder insignia PLAGF-0709-1CSGT.png PLAGF-0708-2CSGT.png PLAGF-0707-3CSGT.png PLAGF-0706-4CSGT.png PLAGF-0705-SSG.png PLAGF-0704-SGT.png PLAGF-0703-CPL.png PLAGF-0702-PFC.png PLAGF-0701-PVT.png

Other military branches

The ranks of the People's Liberation Army Air Force generally has the same names, position and ranks as the People's Liberation Army Ground Force, and their insignia correspond except Air Force ranks are on a light blue background instead of green.

Ranks of the People's Liberation Army Navy also have corresponding insignia with a black background, but are only worn with the dress white uniforms, as only sleeve insignia are used in the dress blue uniform for officers, with other ranks retaining the shoulder board insignia.

Historic ranks

1955–65 rank system

The insignia used by officers from 1955 to 1965 by the PLA Ground Force were modelled on those used by the Soviet Army at the time and similar to the earlier Imperial Japanese Army on collar insignia, with the primary differences being the existence of an additional field officer rank, and the insignia of the highest general officer rank being four stars unlike the one large star used by the Soviet Armed Forces starting in 1963. The NCO insignia of that period showed Japanese influence with the use of stars on the collars with the specialty badge on the side. While general duties officers wore the shoulder board pattern shown below (gold and red), technical service officers sported white and red shoulder boards with their rank insignia.

Timeline of change

Officer ranks
Rank group General/flag officers Field/senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
 PLA Ground Force[3]
(1955–1965)
Generalissimo of the PRC collar insignia.jpg Marshal of the PRC collar insignia.jpg General of the Army collar insignia (PRC).jpg General collar insignia (PRC).jpg Lieutenant General collar insignia (PRC).jpg Major General collar insignia (PRC).jpg Senior Colonel collar insignia (PRC).jpg Colonel collar insignia (PRC).jpg Lieutenant Colonel collar insignia (PRC).jpg Major collar insignia (PRC).jpg Captain collar insignia (PRC).jpg Senior Lieutenant collar insignia (PRC).jpg Lieutenant collar insignia (PRC).jpg Junior Lieutenant collar insignia (PRC).jpg Warrant Officer collar insignia (PRC).jpg
Generalissimo of the PRC rank insignia (vertical).svg Marshal of the PRC rank insignia (vertical).svg PLA dà jiàng Type 55.svg PLA shàng jiàng Type 55.svg PLA zhōng jiàng Type 55.svg PLA shào jiàng Type 55.svg PLA dà xiào Type 55.svg PLA shàng xiào Type 55.svg PLA zhōng xiào Type 55.svg PLA shào xiào Type 55.svg PLA dà wèi Type 55.svg PLA shàng wèi Type 55.svg PLA zhōng wèi Type 55.svg PLA shào wèi Type 55.svg PLA zhǔn wèi Type 55.svg
大元帥
Da yuan shuai
元帥
Yuan shuai
大将
Dà jiàng
上将
Shàngjiàng
中将
Zhōngjiàng
少将
Shàojiàng
大校
Dàxiào
上校
Shàngxiào
中校
Zhōngxiào
少校
Shàoxiào
大尉
Dàwèi
上尉
Shàngwèi
中尉
Zhōngwèi
少尉
Shàowèi
准尉
Zhǔnwèi
No ranks
(1965–1988)
 PLA Ground Force[4]
(1988–1994)
Yi Ji Shang Jiang(PLAGF OF-11 Type 88).gif Shang Jiang (PLAGF OF-10 Type 88).gif Zhong Jiang (PLAGF OF-9 Type 88).gif Shao Jiang (PLAGF OF-8 Type 88).gif Da Xiao (PLAGF OF-7 Type 88).gif Shang Xiao (PLAGF OF-6 Type 88).gif Zhong Xiao (PLAGF OF-5 Type 88).gif Shao Xiao (PLAGF OF-1 Type 88).gif Shang Wei (PLAGF OF-3 Type 88).gif Zhong Wei (PLAGF OF-2 Type 88).gif Shao Wei (PLAGF OF-1 Type 88).gif Xue Yuan (PLAGF OF-D Type 88).gif
一级上将
Yī jí shàng jiàng
上将
Shàngjiàng
中将
Zhōngjiàng
少将
Shàojiàng
大校
Dàxiào
上校
Shàngxiào
中校
Zhōngxiào
少校
Shàoxiào
上尉
Shàngwèi
中尉
Zhōngwèi
少尉
Shàowèi
准尉
Zhǔnwèi
Other ranks
Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
 PLA Ground Force
(1955–1965)
Senior Sergeant collar insignia (PRC).jpg Sergeant collar insignia (PRC).jpg Junior Sergeant collar insignia (PRC).jpg Private First Class collar insignia (PRC).jpg Private collar insignia (PRC).jpg
上士
Shàng shì
中士
Zhōng shì
下士
Xià shì
上等兵
Shàngděngbīng
列兵
Lièbīng


 PLA Ground Force
(1988–1994)
PLA jūn shì zhǎng Type 88.jpg PLA zhuān yè jūn shì Type 88.jpg PLA shàng shì Type 88.jpg PLA zhōng shì Type 88.jpg PLA xià shì Type 88.jpg PLA shàng děng bīng Type 88.jpg PLA liè bīng Type 88.jpg

Jūn shì zhǎng

Zhuān yè jūn shì
上士
Shàng shì
中士
Zhōng shì
下士
Xià shì
上等兵
Shàngděngbīng
列兵
Lièbīng


 PLA Ground Force
(1995–1999)
PLA sì jí jūn shì zhǎng Type 93.png PLA sì jí zhuān yè jūn shì Type 93.png PLA sān jí jūn shì zhǎng Type 93.png PLA sān jí zhuān yè jūn shì Type 93.png PLA èr jí jūn shì zhǎng Type 93.png PLA èr jí zhuān yè jūn shì Type 93.png PLA yī jí jūn shì zhǎng Type 93.png PLA yī jí zhuān yè jūn shì Type 93.png PLA shàng shì Type 88.jpg PLA zhōng shì Type 88.jpg PLA xià shì Type 88.jpg PLA shàng děng bīng Type 88.jpg PLA liè bīng Type 88.jpg
四级军士长
Sì jí jūn shì zhǎng

Sì jí zhuān yè jūn shì
三级军士长
Sān jí jūn shì zhǎng

Sān jí zhuān yè jūn shì
二级军士长
Èr jí jūn shì zhǎng

Èr jí zhuān yè jūn shì
一级军士长
Yī jí jūn shì zhǎng

Yī jí zhuān yè jūn shì
上士
Shàng shì
中士
Zhōng shì
下士
Xià shì
上等兵
Shàngděngbīng
列兵
Lièbīng


 PLA Ground Force
(2000–2007)
Liu Ji Shi Guan (PLAGF OR-9 Type 2000).gif Wu Ji Shi Guan (PLAGF OR-8 Type 2000).gif Si Ji Shi Guan (PLAGF OR-7 Type 2000).gif San Ji Shi Guan (PLAGF OR-6 Type 2000).gif Er Ji Shi Guan (PLAGF OR-5 Type 2000).gif Yi Ji Shi Guan (PLAGF OR-4 Type 2000).gif Shang Deng Bing (PLAGF OR-3 Type 2000).gif Lie Bing (PLAGF OR-2 Type 2000).gif

Liu ji shi guan

Wu ji shi guan

Si ji shi guan

San ji shi guan

Er ji shi guan

Yi ji shi guan
上等兵
Shàngděngbīng
列兵
Lièbīng

See also

References

  1. ^ 全军和武警部队年底前将全面施行新的士官制度
  2. ^ a b "中国人民解放军现役士兵服役条例(Regulations on the Service of Active Soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army)" (in Chinese). Ministry of National Defense of the People's Republic of China. March 2, 2016.
  3. ^ Ping, Xu (7 August 2017). "我军建军九十年军衔制度沿革" [The evolution of our military rank system over the ninety years of its establishment]. mod.gov.cn (in Chinese). Ministry of National Defense. p. 5. Archived from the original on 28 December 2019. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  4. ^ Ping, Xu (7 August 2017). "我军建军九十年军衔制度沿革" [The evolution of our military rank system over the ninety years of its establishment]. mod.gov.cn (in Chinese). Ministry of National Defense. p. 6. Archived from the original on 28 December 2019. Retrieved 13 June 2021.

External links

  • PLA Uniforms and Insignia
  • Military ranks of the People's Liberation Army, on pre-2007 uniforms