April 23 marks the 70th founding anniversary of the PLA Navy. Since 2008, the navy has sent 32 escort fleets, 103 vessels, 69 helicopters and more than 27,000 officers and soldiers to escort over 6,600 vessels, more than a half of which were foreign merchant ships.
On April 23, 1949, the leading organ of the navy under the East China Military Area Command was set up in the township of Baimamiao, Taizhou, Jiangsu Province, marking the official founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy.
The PLA Navy's first nuclear submarine hit the waters on Dec. 26, 1970. On Aug. 1, 1974, China's first attack nuclear submarine was commissioned. It was named the “Long March I” with pennant number 401.
China completed launch tests of carrier rockets on Sept. 27, 1988. All missiles were fired from a nuclear submarine that was independently developed by China. The tests marked a remarkable success and made China the fifth country equipped with nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines after the US, the Soviet Union, France, and the UK.
The guided-missile destroyer Qingdao and the replenishment oiler Taicang completed the PLA Navy's first circumnavigation of the world on Sept. 23, 2002, a 132-day voyage covering 33,000 nautical miles. The fleet traveled through 15 channels, 22 bays, and 45 island groups, and paid friendly visits to Singapore, Egypt and Turkey. The round-the-world voyage set the highest PLA Navy record in regards to navigation time, the number of countries visited and mileage covered.
On Dec. 26, 2008, Chinese authorities deployed PLA Navy vessels to escort ships in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters. Two destroyers including the Type 052C 171 Haikou and Type 052B 169 Wuhan, as well as a supply ship, were deployed to complete the mission, together with two ship-borne helicopters and special force soldiers. The mission escorted a total of 212 vessels in 41 batches.
The PLA Navy held its first multinational naval event in the waters of the Yellow Sea in Qingdao on April 23, 2009, to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PLA Navy. It was the first time that the PLA Navy invited foreign navies to attend a naval parade. Naval delegations from 29 countries and 21 naval ships from 14 countries participated in the event.
The Chinese Navy hospital ship “Peace Ark” left Zhoushan, east China’s Zhejiang province on Aug. 31, 2010, on its "Harmonious Mission-2010". The hospital ship visited Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Bangladesh and the Seychelles, providing humanitarian medical aid to residents. It was the first time the Chinese hospital ship conducted an overseas medical mission. During the 88-day voyage, which covered 17,800 nautical miles, the hospital ship provided outpatient services for 12,806 patients and performed 97 surgeries.
China’s first aircraft carrier Liaoning was officially delivered and commissioned on Sept. 25, 2012.
During a mission to the Gulf of Aden and the waters of Somalia, the Navy escort fleet picked up 124 Chinese citizens from Yemen on March 29, 2015. Later, the fleet, sending three battleships, evacuated 621 Chinese citizens and helped evacuate 276 foreigners from 15 countries.
The Central Military Commission (CMC) of China held a naval parade in the South China Sea on April 12, 2018. President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, inspected the parade.