Dozens of social media accounts reviewed this week revealed that the Chinese military is training children as young as kindergarten age to handle firearms and fight like military soldiers in boot camps throughout the country this summer, according to The Daily Caller.
According to reports, photographs revealed images of boys and girls engaging in combat training with toy knives, grenades, rifles, and shoulder-fired missiles. The imagery from the social media posts also showed children adopting military behavior, including saluting.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers oversaw the kindergarten boot camps in major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Nanjing, and Shenzhen, according to The Daily Caller’s report.
These camps are operational in half a dozen provinces, including Anhui, Fujian, and Guangdong. The military program includes a repeated pattern of activities, beginning with basic military behavior to teaching military skills, combat, emergency medical, and teaching children about infamous PLA “heroes” and “martyrs.”
Children are taught to revere PLA soldiers in camps like the Qingyuan Experimental Kindergarten boot camp in Zhejiang, where children watch an animated cartoon video about Huang Jiguang, a PLA soldier who “sacrificed” himself for his military company in the Korean War by sacrificing his body to cover the opening of an enemy machine gun nest in 1952.
Another shows kindergartners in the Guangdong province’s Longmen County Bootcamp, who are taught about Dong Cunrui and other PLA martyrs who “sacrificed” their life to destroy a bridge while fighting the Chinese Nationalist army in 1948.
Once children learn to follow orders and behave in a military unit, the kindergarten boot camps move on to weapons training, including toy knives, batons, ballistic shields, and more.
According to the posts, kindergarteners are trained with toy guns and engage in squad-centered military exercises, where they pretend to shoot each other.
According to the school’s social media account, last month, faculty members and around 80 children from the Xingtan Guanghui kindergarten in Guangdong province gathered on the playground for the opening ceremony of their school’s National Defense Education camp, wearing matching military camouflage clothing.
Government documents say the latest actions from Beijing come as the increasing militarization of China’s youth, following the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee’s push for more “National Defense Education” and efforts to make schools and universities adhere to such standards.
“INHERIT THE RED GENE, CARRY FORWARD PATRIOTIC FEELINGS, LOVE CHINA, LITTLE SOLDIER,” read a PLA banner in the image.
“Kindergarten momma encourages her children not to fear hardship, fatigue or strict training,” the Xingtan Guanghui kindergarten’s principal told the children during the opening ceremony, the school’s social media account reported. “Respect the instructors and obey all commands.”
PLA soldiers at these schools have performed flag-raising ceremonies, with attendants singing the CCP’s national anthem.
Experts note that the efforts to militarize China’s population are part of the Communist government’s long-term ideological goals.
As China spreads its influence in the Middle East and Asia, the latest efforts will help Beijing create a powerful military force to deter America’s military.
Others note that such actions from authoritarian regimes like China are not new to the world, given that terrorist entities and other anti-western groups like Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and North Korea, indoctrinate and train young children to fight for their regimes against Western countries.