People’s Liberation Army Chief of Staff
Date of Birth: July 1941
Place of Birth: Nantong, Jiangsu
Chinese arms are affordable options for African militaries looking to upgrade, and the advisors of the People’s Liberation Army are ready to meet that demand. On 23-31 May, PLA Chief of Staff Chen Bingde visited Namibia, Angola and Tanzania – all clients of China’s arms industry.
In Windhoek, he called on President Hifikepunye Pohamba, former President Sam Nujoma, Defence Minister Charles Namoloh and the acting Commander of the Namibian Defence Force, Peter Nambundunga. In Luanda, Forças Armadas Angolanas Chief of Staff Francisco Pereira Furtado sought PLA assistance in improving his forces’ hardware. Similar requests awaited Chen in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from Defence Minister Hussein Ali Mwinyi and Chief of Defence Forces Davis Mwamunyange. Chen had previously visited South Africa in May 2006.
Chen was born in Nantong, Jiangsu province, in 1941. He joined the PLA in 1961 and the Chinese Communist Party in 1962. He became Chief of Staff of the Nanjing Military Area Command in 1985 and Commander-in-Chief in 1996. He later took command of the Jinan Military Area. Both coastal regions figure prominently in PLA plans to attack Taiwan should the island state declare independence.
After earning his general’s stripes in 2002, Chen joined the CPC Central Military Commission as Director-General of the PLA General Armaments Department, where he oversaw the military’s modernisation. In 2007, he was made Chief of Staff and elevated to the the PLA’s Central Committee. He has been a member of the CCP Central Committee since 1997.