The Korean War’s First Chinese Participants

The first Chinese to go abroad in support of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea(DPRK) did so well before China’s official entry into the war on October 19, 1950. The first to report were senior cadre (officers) of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) who wore completely sanitized Korean People’s Army(KPA) officer’s uniforms. Likewise, junior personnel wore sanitized enlisted KPA uniforms, until the main thrust of the Chinese Northeast Frontier Defense Army crossed the Yalu kitted out with China’s newly standardized Type 50 family of uniforms. Chinese soldiers embedded directly within KPA units wore Korean uniforms for the duration of their assignment. After the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed, the members of the Chinese People’s Volunteers (CPV) in Korea began to wear insignia on both uniforms.

From left to right: Commander of the 38th Army, Liang Xingchu and his deputy, Jiang Yonghui, accompanied by Commissar Liu Xiyuan
Chinese People’s Volunteer cadre dressed in sanitized KPA officer’s uniform.
Mao Anying, Chairman Mao Tse-Tung’s son, second from the left in the back row, wearing a KPA officer’s uniform. Photo taken October 16, 1950 at the Liaodong Liberation Martyrs Memorial Tower in Andong City (now Dandong City), before going to Korea. 
To Mao’s right is Xu Muyuan, a member of Mao’s staff whom this photo originally belonged.

After the armistice was signed, those Chinese personnel directly embedded within KPA units would begin wearing full insignia and accoutrements.

Wearing KPA uniform, Chinese PLA soldier Jin Dawan through the post-armistice reconstruction period. Jin served as a transport and logistics advisor as well as translator to the Koreans.
Chinese volunteer wearing KPA enlisted winter uniform during the reconstruction period.

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