Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chinese Military Toys Represent Evolving View Of Their Own Military

People's Liberation Army military toys made in China seem to reflect an evolving view of their military among the Chinese public. One highly detailed brand of Chinese action figures, Soldier Story, features a 1962 People's Liberation Army soldier from the 1962 war with India. This soldier was viewed as a border defense troop and features a more traditional Chinese army appearance. However, some newer PLA figures such as the super detailed figure from DID view the modern Chinese military as brave heroes that rescued many citizens from the terrible 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Most of the action figures made in the world come from China, with most foreign soldiers viewed as fighting men holding guns who engage in combat. But, the evolving view among the Chinese of their own military isn't one of an army that fights wars, but a sort of homeland force that looks out for the goodwill of their citizens, regardless of the danger.

Another Chinese brand, Puzzle Animation, which makes some smaller 1/18 scale figures does still depict Chinese soldiers with some sort of Jeeps, ATVs or other military vehicles and guns. But they appear to be largely a homeland defense rather than an offensive warfare military.

Up until the Nixon-era, the U.S. largely viewed China's military as an expansionist force. The U.S. and Britain supported India, even though it was India that actually established new military outposts along a disputed area associated with 1959 Tibet Uprising. The Soviet Union was preoccupied at the time with 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and didn't offer China the foreign policy or military aid it might normally had. The U.S. and Russia were very close to major war in 1962 over Cuba, so perhaps that prevented the war with India and China from becoming a larger proxy war for U.S. and Soviet interests.