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Six major standard uniforms of PLA
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08:49, July 06, 2007

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Since 1950, the People's Liberation Army has used five styles of uniforms, which are numbered 50, 55, 65, 85 and 87 respectively. In 1997 and 1999, PLA troops stationed in Hong Kong and Macao tried on the 97-uniforms.

On May 1, 1950, the PLA introduced its first generation of uniforms in history, known as the 50-uniforms. The entire army adopted a unified standard. The 50-uniforms were both summer and winter clothes, and for the first time included visor hats. Tags were on the left side of the chest on both summer and winter clothes, and carried the characters of "People's Liberation Army." All hats were designed with badges bearing a red, five-point star lined with gold, and the Chinese characters for "August 1" in the center.

Beginning from October 1, 1955, after the Chinese army had implemented a ranking system, army personnel wore "uniforms with military ranks," called the 55-uniforms. Except for generals and marshals, all other military officials brandished vertical lines and combinations of stars to indicate their ranks. Different branches of the armed forces used lapel badges of different colors. The Army used red, the Navy's were black, and the Air Force wore sky blue.

After the military ranking system was abolished in May 1965; the armed forces used the 65-uniforms, beginning on June 1, 1965. Old hat, shoulder and lapel badges were discontinued. There were only summer and winter uniforms. The Army wore all green, the Air Force adopted green coats and blue pants, and the Navy wore dark gray. Male soldiers wore stand-up collar coats with two pockets. Senior officers' uniforms had four pockets. Female soldiers wore open collar coats with two pockets. Their winter uniforms were of the same style as those of male soldiers.

In 1984, China started to produce 85-uniforms, in order to prepare for the return of the military ranking system in 1985. This set of uniforms included a summer uniform, standard shirts, and winter clothes. This style was essentially basically the same as that of the 65-uniforms.

PLA's current uniforms are known as the 87-uniforms. After the army restored the ranking system on October 1, 1988; all officers and soldiers began wearing the 87-uniforms, which include summer uniforms, standard shirts, and winter clothes. Summer uniform can be worn in spring and autumn. Standard shirts include long and short-sleeved shirts. In summer, shirts can be worn alone with rank badges. Female soldiers can wear blue skirts. Winter clothing for male officers is a stand-up collar coat. Female officers wear double-breasted suits.

The PLA troops in Hong Kong and Macao have been wearing a new generation of uniforms, the 97-uniforms, since the return of the two special administrative regions. Different branches of the armed forces wear different colors of uniforms. Light green brown uniforms indicate the Army. The Navy wears white and dark blue. The Air Force wears blue.

By People's Daily Online

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