One of the reasons is that Beijing has decided to consolidate its borders, whether sea borders in the South China or East China Seas or land borders with India (mainly in Aksai Chin/Ladakh region).
In July, China Military Online reported that Xu Qiliang, a member of the Politburo of the CCP's Central Committee and also one of the 2 vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission (CMC) inspected Xinjiang and Tibet garrisons.
According to the official website: "Xu Qiliang recently inspected the troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF) garrisoning Xinjiang and Tibet."
The article adds: "During the inspection, General Xu Qiliang visited the officers and men in frontier areas, and held talks with the leaders of the troop units garrisoning in Hotan [Xinjiang, near the Aksai Chin], Ali [Ngari or Gar] and Lhasa [in the Tibetan Autonomous Region or TAR] areas to discuss the development and reform of frontier troop units.
Xu Qiliang also visited sentries in Shenxianwan (just north of the Karakoram Pass and the Depsang Plains) frontier defense company who were performing duties at the altitude of 5,380 meters.
Now the winter has set on the high plateau.
It is cosier for the VVIPs to remain in Beijing, while the frontier guards continue to live in the rarefied altitude of the Xinjiang Military District opposite the Indian troops in Ladakh.
The PLA websites published a photo feature of the life of the PLA soldiers in Shenxianwan.
|Shenxianwan-Karakoram pass area|
The Times of India reported: "Barely two months after a fortnight long stand-off between Chinese and Indian forces was resolved in Ladakh, China's PLA made another incursion leading to a standoff for over three hours. While the last standoff (in September) took place in Chumur area, the latest one has been reported from near Chushul which is reeling under -30 degree celsius temperature."
An official of the home ministry told The Times of India: "This was not the same as the September standoff when matters had really escalated. But given that Chinese continue to come in despite unfavourable weather shows their intent to continue to needle us. Earlier incursions were never heard of in winters. For the past couple of years, they have become common. Our forces, however, are prepared and have been responding with equal force."
Here are some pictures of the training of the PLA on the Xinjiang's side of the border, not far from the Karakoram pass (see map above).
Though the military website said that the pictures were taken from the same area, it appears that some pictures are not from the Aksai Chin area (i.e. snow on the trees).
Propaganda is not always factually correct!
The caption says: "A soldier is eating dry provisions with snow as his lunch [sic]. A troop unit under the Rikaze [Chinese for Shigatse] Military Sub-command of the Tibet Military Command (MC) of the Chengdu Military Area Command (MAC) of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) organized its troops to conduct cold-resistance and anti-anoxia training on a winter field training ground at an altitude of 4,500 meters on the early morning of December 15, 2014."
"The soldiers are in winter training",says China Military Online.
This series is clearly for the show.