Reporter's Diary: Witnessing Change
By Han Bin
02:13

I've been covering the military for 20 years. But this is the first time that I could get so close to the PLA Navy. It's given me a new understanding of its growth. 

I got a rare chance to see and report on new armaments. I was able to meet with people from all of the navy's key branches. I can see how the navy is taking a leading role in the PLA's structure. Its priorities keep changing. Its direction is much clearer – building a combat-ready blue-water force. It wants to play a bigger role on the world stage, and establish a new global image of responsibility.

CGTN crew, including correspondent Han Bin and cameraman Huang Xiaodong, at the duplicate training deck of China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. /CGTN Photo

CGTN crew, including correspondent Han Bin and cameraman Huang Xiaodong, at the duplicate training deck of China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. /CGTN Photo

The fleet review is a declaration for casting off the past humiliation of colonization by foreign naval powers. But it's only a hint of the navy's improved weaponry.

And the training we have covered provides a glimpse of the future. The true value of the deep transformation is beginning to be felt.

Throughout our month-long journey, the deepest impressions are of the sailors and officers. Their stories reflect the navy's transformation. The navy is changing their lives, too.

CGTN correspondent Han Bin interviews Captain Aditya Hara, as Indian navy's warship INS Kolkata arrives at Qingdao port, April 21, 2019. /CGTN Photo

CGTN correspondent Han Bin interviews Captain Aditya Hara, as Indian navy's warship INS Kolkata arrives at Qingdao port, April 21, 2019. /CGTN Photo

The PLA Navy is now 70, but it's still a young force. I can see it is gradually opening up. The fact we were given access for the "Red Start, Blue Water" series is a message for another change.

The Qingdao multi-national activities make history for naval diplomacy. But there's a long way to go for global acknowledgment of its purpose.

This unique experience will leave me with lasting memories. The Qingdao port resumes calm now. But CGTN will continue to keep an eye on what's happening on and in the water.