MND: Thank You for Your Efforts

On June 22, the ministry of national defense (MND) held a briefing for military attachés stationed in Beijing which was chaired by Colonel Geng Yansheng (耿雁生) as its new press secretary (国防部新闻事务局局长). Geng also  spoke in his new capacity as the Chinese defense ministry’s  chief spokesman earlier this week at a press conference about a joint Chinese-Pakistani “Friendship 2010 counter-terrorism” military exercise, China National Radio quotes China News Net. Geng’s appointment is considered to have been “low-key”, as no public announcement had been made in advance. Geng had  previously served as a combined foreign-affairs office’s (FAO) deputy secretary (国防部外事办公室综合局副局长) at the MND. Reports quoted by China News Net believe that as is tradition, the deputy press secretary will also serve as a spokesman, together with Geng.

The China Ministry of National Defense Information Office (MNDIO) was established in 2008, according to a paper by Matthew Boswell, written for the US-based National Bureau of Asian Research. The creation of the MNDIO could be understood in two ways, Boswell wrote in 2009:

(1) as a mechanism through which the PLA can more clearly and effectively interface with the outside world and
(2) as means for the PLA to generate a favorable public consensus on issues of strategic or political concern.

The PLA Daily, quoted by the MND website on June 23, still referred to Geng as the director of the Information Affairs Bureau of the FAO of the MND, but the MNDIO’s work was apparently crowned with success:

On behalf of foreign military attaches to China, Brigadier Antonio Grieco, the Italian military attaché, thanked Cheng Jingye [Department of Arms Control] for his briefing and said that they had a better understanding of the positive role played by China in international arms control in recent years and the efforts made by China in maintaining world and regional peace and stability.


Chinese Naval Exercise near Nansei Islands, April 24, 2010

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