PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
 

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MILITARY & NAVAL ENSIGNS & FLAGS SINCE 1949
 

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.

The war flag of the People's Liberation Army or PLA (a term encompassing the ground, air, sea and strategic rocket 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. Two versions of this flag exist: in 4:5 proportions for use on land, 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 1992, some new military and naval flags were introduced, all based on the war flag of the PLA with stripes representing the land (green), the air (sky blue) and the sea (blue and white) 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. When the PLA Rocket Force was established as a separate branch in 2016, it was granted a flag and color with a golden yellow stripe.

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 was made in 2:3 proportions for use as the naval ensign and is made in 4:5 proportions for use on land. 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 1992. 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 1992. It seems probable that the national flag was used at first and the war flag at some later date. Since 1992 the national flag has served as the PLA Navy's jack, while the war flag with blue and white stripes is the naval ensign.

Images Added September 2018

National Color of the PRC    Flag & Ceremonial Color of the PLA Rocket Force
 



 

NATIONAL FLAG SINCE 1949    NAVAL ENSIGN & JACK 1949-92 (?)

 

WAR FLAG OF THE PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY

 

NAVAL ENSIGN PRIOR TO 1992 (?)

 

NAVAL ENSIGN SINCE 1992

 

PLA GROUND FORCE FLAG SINCE 1992

 

PLA AIR FORCE FLAG SINCE 1992

 

PLA ROCKET FORCE FLAG SINCE 2016

 

CEREMONIAL COLORS

 

NATIONAL COLOR

 

PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY

 

PLA GROUND FORCE

 

PLA AIR FORCE

 

PLA ROCKET FORCE

 

PLA NAVY
 



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