PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
 

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MILITARY & NAVAL ENSIGNS & FLAGS SINCE 1949
 

Images Added March 2013

Ceremonial Colors of the People's Liberation Army
 

Notes
 

The national flag of the People's Republic of China (PRC), adopted in 1949, has a red field for Communism, a large yellow star symbolizing the leadership of the Communist Party, and four smaller stars symbolizing the four "revolutionary" classes of Chinese society. Up to 1996, the national flag also served as the PRC's naval ensign and jack.

The war flag of the People's Liberation Army or PLA (a term encompassing the ground, air and sea branches of the armed forces), was probably adopted around 1950, It features a red field for Communism, a yellow star for the PLA's victories, and the Chinese characters for the numerals "1" and "8" symbolizing its foundation date, 1 August 1928. Three versions of this flag exist: in 4:5 proportions for use on land, in 2:3 proportions for use as the PRC naval ensign and in 4:5 proportions with yellow fringe for use as the PLA's ceremonial color. This and all other colors are ornamented with yellow cords and tassels and are carried on a staff striped red and yellow with a spearpoint finial

In 1996, some new military and naval flags were introduced, all based on the war flag of the PLA with stripes along the lower edge. For the air and ground forces the flags' proportions are 4:5. The version with blue and white stripes in 2:3 proportions is the naval jack. With yellow fringe added, these flags serve as the ceremonial colors of the service branches.

The armed forces of the PRC seem never to have adopted any rank flags for senior commanders, such marks of distinction being deemed incompatible with the state's socialist ideology. 

Flag Proportions: The national flag of the People's Republic of China is made in 2:3 proportions for flying from an outdoor flagpole and in 4:5 proportions, with or without yellow fringe, for indoor and ceremonial use. The war flag of the PLA is made in 2:3 proportions for use as the naval ensign and in 4:5 proportions for use on land. The naval jack is made in 2:3 proportions. Other military flags are made in 4:5 proportions. Ceremonial Colors (with fringe) are also made in 4:5 proportions.

Notes: There is some uncertainty as to the flag used as the PRC naval ensign between 1949 and 1996. Whitney Smith's Flags Through the Ages and Around the World (1975) shows the national flag as the naval ensign. However, FOTW Mailing List member Miles Li points out that there is photographic evidence showing the 1949 PLA war flag in use as the PRC naval ensign prior to 1996.
 



 


 

NATIONAL FLAG, NAVAL ENSIGN & JACK    1949-96 (?)


NAVAL ENSIGN


WAR FLAG

 

NAVAL JACK SINCE 1996

 

PLA GROUND FORCES FLAG SINCE 1996

 

PLA AIR FORCE FLAG SINCE 1996

 

CEREMONIAL COLORS

 

PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY

 

PLA GROUND FORCES

 

PLA AIR FORCE

 

PLA NAVAL FORCES
 



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