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Portraits of a Rising Military Power

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On March 11, 2010, in Beijing, Chinese paramilitary police march in formation on a Tiananmen Square closed off for the annual meeting of the National People's Congress.

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A member of the Chinese Air Force mans his position following an April 13 military air show near the city of Tianjin that featured Chinese J-10 fighter jets performing acrobatic maneuvers.

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This photo, which was first circulated on Chinese websites, shows what is believed to be the J-20, China's first radar-evading, fifth-generation stealth fighter. The plane had its first flight test in Chengdu last week during U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates's visit to China.

 

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Chinese students dressed in camouflage take part in a fire drill prior to the start of a new semester at Peking University in Beijing on Aug. 22.

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A Taiwanese soldier sits inside a locally made CM-11 tank during a drill in Hukou in January. This year the United States approved $6.4 billion in weapons sales to Taiwan to help counter China's growing military.

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Chinese soldiers unfurl the national flag in front of the Chinese pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 on Oct. 1, the 61st anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

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Chinese "special police" show off their skills during a drill in Beijing on June 30. Beijing claimed that special police had cracked a major terrorist cell ahead of the anniversary of deadly violence in the restive Xinjiang autonomous region in 2009.

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A man sitting next to People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers yawns on the first day of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai on May 1. Tens of thousands of people flooded through the gates of the World Expo on the first day of a six-month event seen as a showcase of China's growing economic might.

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Chinese soldiers undergo winter training at a military camp in Changchun in northeast China's Jilin province on Jan. 7.

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Chinese soldiers stand in line at the World Expo 2010 on Oct. 1.

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A pedestrian on July 29 walks past a billboard image of PLA members marching during October 2009's 60th-anniversary celebrations for China's ruling Communist Party.

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PLA soldiers direct visitors arriving at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai on April 20.

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A PLA soldier stops photographs from being taken outside a hotel believed to be hosting delegates to the Chinese Communist Party's annual meeting in Beijing on Oct. 15.

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Vietnamese soldiers march in front of the mausoleum of late President Ho Chi Minh during a military parade held on Oct. 10 in Hanoi. The parade, part of a ceremony to cap Hanoi's millennium celebrations, was also a display of national pride meant to send a defiant message to Vietnam's northern neighbor. China and Vietnam dispute certain territorial claims in the South China Sea.

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A paramilitary guard mans his position on Tiananmen Square in front of the portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong on a snowy morning in Beijing on March 8.

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On April 17, Chinese rescue soldiers stand on rubble near the site of a devastating earthquake in Jiegu, Yushu County. The Chinese government undertook the mass cremation of hundreds of earthquake victims due to sanitation fears after hope dimmed of finding further survivors.

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A baby is carried on a woman's back next to Chinese soldiers sifting through the rubble amid the earthquake devastation in Jiegu, Yushu County.

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Chinese President Hu Jintao traveled to remote quake-hit northwestern China to inspect relief efforts. The estimated death toll was more than 1,400 people.

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PLA recruits undergo weapons training at a camp in China's eastern Anhui province on Jan. 9. China's military spending rose 15.3 percent in 2009 to $69 billion, but Beijing continues to stress the defensive nature of its armed forces.

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Chinese students practice marching under the supervision of a PLA soldier. Most Chinese university and high school students are required to spend some time in military training to enhance patriotism and self-discipline.

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Members of the Chinese People's Armed Police, which is responsible for the security of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, pin ribbons on each other prior to a ceremony to mark the handover of guard duties in Beijing on Nov. 23, 2009.

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A Vietnamese honor guard parades during a welcoming ceremony held prior to the meeting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) defense ministers in Hanoi on Oct. 12.

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Vietnamese maritime policemen march in front of the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh during a military parade held on Oct. 10 in Hanoi.

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Members of a PLA honor guard line up during a welcome ceremony for visiting Zambian President Rupiah Banda at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Feb. 25.

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South Korean marines patrol along the seashore on Yeonpyeong Island on Dec. 1. A week after launching a deadly artillery attack on the small South Korean island, North Korea boasted on Nov. 30 of operating "thousands" of nuclear centrifuges.

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A soldier stands guard behind a painting of the Great Wall during a welcoming ceremony for German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Great Hall of the People on July 16 in Beijing.

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Chinese university students in Anhui province undergo a weeklong military drill prior to starting their new semester in August. China's propaganda chief Li Changchun, who ranks fifth in China's political hierarchy, has said the teaching of communist ideology at universities is lacking; he has pledged to step up political education in order to teach a future generation of leaders.

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Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie walks past a Vietnamese Navy honor guard during a welcoming ceremony prior to the opening of the ASEAN defense ministers meeting in Hanoi on Oct. 12.

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A Taoist monk walks past paramilitary police at Tiananmen Square as security is stepped up ahead of the annual parliament session at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 2.

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Chinese paramilitary police stage a drill in China's restive western Xinjiang autonomous region on June 18.

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Paramilitary police guard the entrance of the Shanghai World Expo near the China pavilion on April 19. 

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Chinese military delegates arrive at the Great Hall of the People before the opening ceremony of the National People's Congress on March 5.

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