The Chinese military is equipping soldiers stationed in Tibet with newly developed helmets embedded with a self-destruct button.
The button triggers an embedded bomb to go off, killing the soldier.
“At a battalion or brigade level command center, a commander monitors a soldier who is far away by using the navigation system. The commander can activate the self-destruct function of the soldier’s helmet if he can’t get in contact with him,” state-run media China Observer reported on Dec. 27, 2020.
Soldiers can also press the button themselves. “If a soldier is seriously wounded and doesn’t want to be captured, he can activate the self-destruct function himself. This can maintain his dignity, as well as prevent the enemy from obtaining this system,” the report stated.
The new helmet is part of an “individual soldier digital combat system” given to troops in the Tibet theater command. They face Indian troops at the border, where there were recent skirmishes over disputed territory in the Ladakh region.
The system includes an antenna and bomb, night-vision multifunctional glasses, and a digital control terminal that can be worn on the arm.
After being equipped with the system, soldiers at the frontline can communicate with the battalion commander at the command center via radio, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the commander can see the frontline via video footage captured by the soldier’s camera-equipped jacket.
By viewing the footage, the commander can order to fire artillery targeting Indian soldiers, the report stated. It further claimed that soldiers can push the button to detonate when they approach Indian forces. This system would ensure that the Chinese side would win any potential conflict with the Indian army, the report stated.
Soldiers in special forces units, the squad infantry, as well as the artillery, aviation, and armor divisions will be equipped with this system.
Hours after the Observer published the report, the content about the embedded bomb and suicide-style attacks was deleted.
But the original report was archived by multiple websites.
U.S.-based China affairs commentator Tang Jingyuan noted that this new equipment is evidence that the People’s Liberation Army (China’s military) struggles to manage its soldiers, and has to use extreme methods to ensure they don’t desert their posts or disobey their commanders.
Since 2018, the Chinese regime has issued increasingly severe punishment on deserters, such as banning them from public transportation, attending school, operating a business, working in government posts, and applying for passports.
“Now PLA soldiers are forced to fight after wearing the helmets. Otherwise, they will be killed by their commander,” Tang said.