People's Liberation Army

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In the People's Republic of China, the military is collectively called the People's Liberation Army (PLA). As do other countries such as Canada and Israel, there is relatively little differentiation between branches of the military service, such that formally, there is no such thing as the Chinese Navy, but the People's Liberation Army Navy.

Some major commands have deliberately obscure names, such as the Second Artillery Corps, which is responsible for China's long-range ballistic missiles.

The PLA continues to go through an evolution. It traces its lineage not so much to ancient Chinese militaries, but to the increasingly capable guerrilla that triumphed in the 1949 Chinese revolution. While there were actually other major units and commanders, perhaps the best-known unit was the Eighth Route Army, making the Long March, under Mao Zedong and other commanders.