Autor foto: Domena publiczna

Modernisation of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army

Modernisation of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army

March 24, 2021

Author: Tomasz Smura

Modernisation of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army


Autor foto: Domena publiczna

Modernisation of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army

Author: Tomasz Smura

Published: March 24, 2021

Pułaski Policy Paper No 3, March 24, 2021

In the first quarter of 2021, Chinese media reported further successes in modernising the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), such as the launch of the third Type 075 landing helicopter dock at Shanghai’s Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard[1] and the entry into service of the second Type 055 destroyer.[2] The completion of China’s third aircraft carrier in the coming months was also announced.[3] New regulations to streamline China’s arms procurement process also went into effect early this year.[4] This is in line with the announcement in October 2020 at the Fifth Plenum of the 19th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party to accelerate the process of reform and modernisation of the PLA to become a modern armed force for the centennial of its establishment in 2027.[5]

The new edition of the Department of Defence’s report to Congress, or Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China in 2020, published in early September 2020, also reported in a rather alarmist tone on progress in modernising China’s armed forces (pointing to China’s superiority in fleet size, conventional land-based ballistic and cruise missiles, and integrated air defence, among other things).[6] The document was of course part of the Donald Trump administration’s assertive approach to relations with the People’s Republic of China, which has been reflected in the most important strategic documents (National Security Strategy, National Defence Strategy), the statements of its members and the actions of Washington (including tariffs and pressure to reduce the trade deficit in relations with the PRC, restrictions imposed on Chinese companies operating in the USA, or pressure on allies to limit cooperation with Beijing in sensitive areas). Nevertheless, the first weeks of Joe Biden’s new administration and the statements of its members indicate that a continuation of US policy towards China is to be expected, and the Democrats’ administration now sees China as the most important threat to US security and national interests on a global stage, and a country seeking to limit and supplant American influence in the Asia-Pacific region and other parts of the world.[7] A means to this end is to be provided by, among other things, modern armed forces.

Regardless of the assessment of the actual motives and actions of the Chinese authorities in the international arena, it should be pointed out that the capabilities of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army are indeed growing rapidly, although achieving the goals set for the Chinese armed forces is still a distant matter.

People’s Liberation Army

With over 2 million soldiers, the People’s Liberation Army remains the world’s largest armed forces in terms of numbers. It consists of five types of armed forces, namely land forces, navy, air force, missile force and strategic support force. According to the structure adopted in 2015, China’s armed forces are grouped into five so-called “operational theatres” (previously there were seven military regions). The People’s Liberation Army is overseen by the seven-member Central Military Commission, which is formally a department of the CCP Central Committee and is composed – in addition to the chairman – of top military commanders and is headed by PRC Chairman Xi Jinping. Subject to it are the substantive departments, bureaus and commissions, followed by the aforementioned operational theaters, types of armed forces, military schools and paramilitary organisations such as the People’s Armed Police and the Coast Guard.[8]

According to China’s 2019 White Paper, the goal of national defence (and thus the armed forces) is to:

  •  deter and repel aggression;
  •  ensure political security and the safety of citizens and social stability;
  •  oppose and stop the “independence of Taiwan”;
  •  combat supporters of separatist movements such as “independence for Tibet” and the establishment of “East Turkestan”
  •  protect national sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and security;
  •  protect China’s maritime rights and interests;
  •  safeguard China’s security interests in space, the electromagnetic domain and cyberspace;
  •  safeguard China’s interests overseas;
  •  promote the sustainable development of the country.[9]

In addition to the general objectives characteristic of such documents of many countries, there are more specific issues (containment of Taiwan’s independence, protection of maritime interests), the importance of which China wanted to particularly emphasise. China’s defence strategy, in turn, is based on so-called active defence, which means strategic defence with the use of offensive capabilities at the operational and tactical levels.[10]

Modernisation Priorities

The primary modernisation goal set by the PRC chairman is to make the Chinese People’s Liberation Army a “world-class” military force by 2049, which, according to the Pentagon, means a military force equal to, and in some cases exceeding, the capabilities of the United States and other countries perceived by Beijing as a threat.[11] By then, the Chinese armed forces will have achieved two intermediate goals:

  1. by 2020, to achieve mechanisation with significantly increased informatisation and significantly improved strategic capabilities,
  2. to comprehensively develop military theory, organisational structure, military personnel, armaments and equipment and to essentially complete the modernisation of national defence and the army by 2035.[12]

As indicated above, the Fifth Plenum of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China set another task for the PLA – to increase integrated development in mechanisation, informatisation and digitisation (intelligentisation), holistically strengthening the training and preparation system.[13]

This overlaps with the political goal of a “great revival of the Chinese nation,” which is interpreted to include, among other things, the reunification of all Chinese lands, which is primarily the incorporation of Taiwan into the PRC, and the revision of the existing global order[14] with the dominant position of the US.  The PLA seems to be the tool to achieve these goals.

Land forces

The land forces are the largest branch of armed forces. The 915,000 soldiers in combat units are grouped into 13 army groups consisting of 78 light, medium and heavy military brigades (analogous to the U.S. Armed Forces) of approximately 5,000 soldiers each. Each army group also includes 6 support and security brigades (artillery, air defence, aviation, special forces, engineering and chemical defence). The combined arms brigades consist of combined arms military battalions, which are to be characterised by a high degree of independence.[15]

In the assessment of the US Department of Defence, the PLA  continues the transformation into a modern, mobile and capable of destroying the enemy by implementing modernised combat and communication systems and enhancing the ability to conduct comprehensive joint operations using various types of armed forces. Nevertheless, the modernisation challenges faced by the Chinese land forces remain significant. Infantry units feature outdated platforms from the 1960s and the most modern weapons systems in the region. A similar situation occurs in armoured units, which consist of a number of obsolete tanks[16] (for example, about 1500 tanks of the Type 59 family, which are the Chinese version of the Soviet T-54, are still in service) and modernised main battle tanks of the III generation (e.g., about 1100 Type 99 tanks of the capabilities comparable to modern Western tanks). Overall, of the approximately 5,500 basic tanks, about 3,500 machines qualify for III generation, while obsolete designs of I generation dominate among the rest. However, among the nearly 6,000 Chinese infantry fighting vehicles, more than half are modern designs, but there are still over 1,000 Type 86 vehicles in service, i.e. a Chinese copy of the Soviet BWP-1.[17]

Thus, despite the great ambitions and technological capabilities of China’s arms industry, China still seems to have some difficulties in acquiring and introducing new platforms into the line, which of course is also due to the size and enormous needs of the land forces. On the other hand, in terms of new capabilities, China is introducing Type-15 light tanks with 105 mm guns, new unmanned aerial vehicles or Z-20 transport helicopters into the line, increasing the mobility of airborne troops.[18]


Currently, the Chinese navy has the world’s largest surface and submarine fleet of 350 vessels, including 130 large vessels belonging to the aircraft carrier, destroyer and frigate classes. The Chinese navy also has naval aviation and the Marine Corps of the People’s Liberation Army under its command. It is divided into three fleets – North Sea, East Sea and South Sea, which are subordinate to the operational theatre commands (North, East and South, respectively). The fleets oversee  surface ship and submarine flotillas, naval aviation brigades, and naval bases.[19]

In the area of naval modernisation, China is intensively replacing older units with more modern ones that have ever-increasing anti-surface and anti-submarine targeting and air defence capabilities. The Chinese are also intensively developing precision strike capabilities against land targets using cruise missiles. China’s power projection capabilities are also steadily increasing. In 2012, China commissioned its first aircraft carrier, which is a refurbished Soviet Kuznetsov-type vessel, and in 2019 a Chinese-built copy of this ship entered service. However, this is not the end of Chinese ambitions, because according to the assumptions, the second (and the first according to its own design) independently built by the Chinese unit of this class is to enter into service by 2023. As mentioned, China has also recently launched a third landing helicopter dock of the Yushen type (Type 075), with a displacement of about 35 thousand tons (which is smaller only than the American ships Wasp and America classes). Each of the ships can take 28 helicopters on board (transport helicopters – Z-20 and anti-submarine helicopters – Ka27/28), and they are equipped, among other things, with HHQ-10 short-range anti-aircraft systems. China’s landing capabilities will also be complemented by 8 amphibious ships of the Yuzhao type (Type 071) with a displacement of 25,000 tons, 6 of which have already entered service.[20]

Other new vessels entering service are dominated by modern multi-role platforms with anti-ship, anti-aircraft, and anti-submarine warfare capabilities. The 8th Renhai missile cruiser (Type 055) was launched in August 2020, although only two of them have entered service so far (side numbers 101[21] and 102).[22] The ship has approximately 13,000 tons of displacement and, with 112 vertical launch systems (VLS) on board, has a wide range of armament – anti-ship cruise missiles (YJ-18A with a range of up to about 500 km), air defence systems (with long-range missiles – HHQ-9B, medium-range missiles – HHQ-16B and short-range missiles – HHQ-10) and anti-submarine warfare systems,[23] and in the future also ballistic anti-ship missiles and cruise missiles designed to attack land targets.[24] At the same time, the 25th Luyang III destroyer (Type 052D) was also launched, with a displacement of 7,500 tons, with 64 VLS, which, like the Type 055, is capable of carrying a wide range of cruise missiles, anti-aircraft missiles and anti-submarine missiles.[25] About 16 ships of this type have already entered service. In 2019, the Chinese Navy handed over the 30th Jiangkai II (Type 054A) frigate, which is likely to close this series of ships and open the process of work on their successors. These frigates have about 4,000 tons of displacement and 32 VLS.[26] China’s entire surface fleet is completed by 72 Type 056A corvettes, all of which have already entered service.[27] Thus, in terms of modernisation of China’s surface forces, the Chinese navy’s progress is impressive. It is worth noting that in 2019 alone, Chinese shipyards have launched 10 cruisers and destroyers.

In the submarine area, up to 4 nuclear-powered intercontinental ballistic missile carriers (SSBN) of the Jin type (Type 094) and 6 nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) Shang I and Shang II (Type 093/093A) were joined by 2 more SSBNs. These ships are armed with 12 JL-2 missiles with a range of 7400 km.[28]

According to the Department of Defence, China is also launching work on a new type of ballistic missile submarine (Type 096), which would increase the number of such ships in the Chinese navy to 8, and a nuclear-powered submarine capable of firing anti-ship and cruise missiles (Type 095). However, the ships still in service also have extensive anti-surface warfare capabilities, as 8 of China’s 12 KILOs are armed with Russian SS-N-27 cruise missiles (with a range of over 200km), while China’s Song, Yuan and Shang submarines will be equipped with China’s latest YJ-18 anti-ship cruise missiles (which are most likely a copy of the SS-N-27 family of missiles). In the future, Chinese submarines, like surface ships, are also likely to acquire a broader capability to strike land targets with cruise missiles[29].

Ship classes/types In service Pending acceptance Under construction
Aircraft Carriers 2 1 (entry into service 2023)
Destroyer Yushen (Type 375 LHA) 3
Landing Craft Yuzhao (Type 071) 6 2
SSBN TyouJin 6
Cruiser Type 055 2 6
Destroyers Type 054D approx. 16 9
Frigates Type 054A 30
Corvettes Type 056 72

Tab.1 Selected classes and types of ships being introduced into the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy

Air force

With approximately 2,500 aircraft, the PLA Air Force has been backward and dependent on foreign suppliers for many years, but it is rapidly catching up technologically with both Russia and Western countries. The Chinese Air Force is expected to have both defensive and offensive capabilities, including long-range power projection capabilities.[30]

Today, the Chinese air force is equipped with more than 800 fighters, more than 600 strike aircraft and about 120 bombers. Of these, however, more than 600 are still J-7 fishbeds and J-8 finbacks, Chinese copies of the MiG-21, a Soviet machine introduced into service in the 1950s that stands no chance of winning an air battle with any current Western design. A further 170 aircraft are relatively modern, though also inferior to Western fighters, the Su-27 Flanker and their Chinese J-11 copies. In 2015, China decided to purchase 24 modern Russian Su-35 fighters, but only the wider introduction of the 5th generation J-20 aircraft can more clearly change the picture of Chinese fighter aviation. The same is true  of bomber units based on Chinese developmental versions of Soviet Tu-16 bombers (produced by the Chinese aerospace industry under the designation H-6). China’s strike aviation, on the other hand, is based on the indigenous Chengdu J-10 and JH-7A, of difficult to determine actual combat value, and about 70 Russian Su-30MKKs and more than 100 J-11Bs.[31]

Nevertheless, it is important to note the systematic increase in the technical sophistication of the Chinese aircraft fleet. Currently, about 800 of China’s 1,500 fighters (both air superiority and strike/multi-role) can be classified as 4th generation aircraft. In terms of 5th generation aircraft, J-20 machines are being introduced and work is underway on the smaller J-31 for export purposes or as a shipboard basing aircraft on future Chinese aircraft carriers.[32]

On the other hand, regardless of the age of the bomber air force, China seeks to maintain and enhance the high operational readiness of the machines. China has deployed significant numbers of upgraded H-6K bombers capable of carrying 6 cruise missiles. The H-6J version, which is the maritime equivalent of the K version, carrying 6 YJ-12 long-range anti-ship cruise missiles, has also been deployed. In 2019, another version of the bomber, the H-6N, better prepared for long-range attacks, was unveiled. Its modified fuselage will allow it to externally carry drones or air-launched ballistic missiles (ALBMs), including those with nuclear warheads. The N version also has air refuelling capability which significantly increases its range compared to other development versions of the bomber. China has also announced work on building a completely new generation stealth bomber, but its development will probably take several years.[33]

The Chinese are also developing a whole range of new skills. In 2019, the electronic combat version of the Y-9 (GX-11) was presented. In turn, in terms of air refuelling capabilities, the existing H-6U and Ukrainian Il-78 aircraft are to be supported by the developed version of the Y-20 heavy transport aircraft intended for this purpose. Work on the implementation of the most advanced Chinese early warning aircraft KJ-500, which joined the earlier KJ-2000 and KJ-200 machines, is progressing rapidly. Finally, new Y-20 aircraft are delivered to aviation, strengthening strategic transport capabilities previously based on the Russian Il-76 aircraft.[34]

In the area of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology, China is developing and bringing into service a range of advanced, often U.S.-modelled, and weapon-carrying MALE (medium-altitude long-endurance) and HALE (high-altitude long-endurance) drones such as, but not limited to: CASC Caihong CH-4 and CH-5, CAIG Yilong (WingLoong) family, Tengoen TW328, CAIG Xianglong, SYAC Shendiao or AVIC Yunying, while Harbin BZK-005 is being upgraded. Futuristic UAVs with limited radar visibility are also being developed, such as CASC CH-7, CASIC Tianying, GAIC Yaoying-III, AVIC Anjian and Lijian, among others. CAIG Xianglong is also entering the line, and the Shendiao Harbin BZK-005 is being developed and upgraded.[35]

China, according to the Department of Defence, has one of the world’s most sophisticated air defence systems based on Russian S-300 long-range anti-aircraft sets and their Chinese copies, the HQ-9. China has also purchased new sets of the more advanced S-400 complex from Russia and is developing these HQ-9 systems into the HQ-9B version, as well as the ballistic missile-capable HQ-19.[36] In February 2021, China announced a successful mid-course ballistic missile intercept test. This was to be the fifth such test since 2010.[37] The Dong Neng-3 system, which also has anti-satellite capabilities, was probably tested during the test.

Missile force

The Chinese Missile Forces, as an independent type of armed forces, were established only in 2015, as a result of the transformation of the 2nd Artillery Corps. Nevertheless, they occupy a very important place in the defence strategy, which is also evidenced by the great emphasis on their modernisation and expansion of capabilities in both ballistic and manoeuvring missiles equipped with conventional and nuclear warheads. China has introduced DF-31/DF-31A (CSS-10 Mod 1/2) solid-propellant missiles in addition to the existing DF-5/DF-5B (Chinese: Dong Feng-5, NATO: CSS-4 Mod 2/3) and DF-4 (CSS-3) Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) systems. Further versions of existing missiles are also likely to be developed, as is the continued development of the all-new DF-41 mobile multi-warhead system (CSS-X-20). According to estimates by the U.S. Department of Defense, within five years China will have about 200 intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of hitting U.S. territory, which will be twice as many as at present.[38]

From the perspective of China’s neighbours, however, more important are Short Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM), of which the U.S. Department of Defence estimates that the PRC possesses some 600, including the DF-11 (CSS-7, range of some 600 km), DF-15 (CSS-6, range of some 700-800 km) and the more modern DF-16 (CSS-11), with a range of over 700 km. China is also developing a family of intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBM), the DF-21 (CSS-5, range of some 1,500 km) and intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBM), the DF-26 (range of some 4,000 km), of which a total of around 350 have been put into service. This is complemented by around 100 ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCM), the CJ-10, with a range of 1,500 km.[39] China is also intensively testing hypersonic weapons (e.g., Xingkong-2 missiles).

Strategic support force

The newest of China’s armed forces, the Strategic Support Force is responsible for the space, cyber, and electronic and psychological warfare domains. Its creation in 2016 is part of the CPLA’s stated goal of “informatisation” reflecting the growing importance of information and electromagnetic domain dominance on the modern battlefield. The Strategic Support Force oversees two departments – the Space Systems Department responsible for space operations (including, among other things, surveillance of Chinese satellites and satellite information processing) and the Network Systems Department overseeing operations in the information sphere, including electromagnetic warfare, cyber warfare, and psychological operations (also known as psych ops).


As mentioned, the modernisation of the PLA is part of the PRC’s broader political goals expressed in the slogans of “the great renaissance of the Chinese nation” and making China a “flourishing socialist superpower,” which seem to reflect Chinese aspirations of becoming the world’s greatest power by the mid-21st century. The high pace of modernisation efforts can therefore be expected to be, at the least, sustained. China is now also moving beyond the vision of a military force focused on defending its own territory – and at most on effective engagement in local conflicts, primarily in the Taiwan Strait – towards building a capacity to project power on a global scale. The intensive expansion and modernisation of China’s high seas navy, including the construction of aircraft carriers, landing-dock ships, long-range bombers, and naval infantry units, is intended to serve this purpose.

However, the modernisation needs of the Chinese armed forces are still enormous, and much of the equipment used in the Chinese army represents Soviet technology of the 1960s and 1970s and in no way meets the requirements of the modern battlefield, which is particularly evident in the case of armoured and mechanised units and fighter and attack aviation. China’s modernisation plans also seem to be experiencing delays, which can be seen, for example, in the successive announcements of the completion of the mechanisation process of the land forces. It is also difficult to make a realistic assessment of the actual capabilities of the “state-of-the-art” solutions introduced by China, such as the J-20 fighters, but taking into account the experience of the Russian Federation (which still has a much more advanced aerospace industry than China) it is difficult to expect that these systems will soon be able to match U.S. solutions. The road to “world-class armed forces” for China seems to be still long.


  1. In October 2020, the Fifth Plenum of the 19th Central Committee of the Chinese Party Committee announced the acceleration of the reform and modernisation process of the PLA to become a modern armed force for the centennial of its establishment in 2027. This is another modernisation goal already set for the Chinese armed forces in recent years.
  2. The modernisation of the PLA is part of the PRC’s broader political goals expressed in the slogans of “the great renaissance of the Chinese nation” and making China a ”flourishing socialist superpower,” which seem to reflect China’s aspirations to become the world’s largest power by the mid-21st century.
  3. In addition to its current modernisation priorities (participation in a potential conflict in the Taiwan Strait), China is developing its global power projection capabilities. This is to be achieved through the intensive expansion and modernisation of China’s high seas navy, including the construction of aircraft carriers and landing-dock ships, long-range bombers and infantry units.
  4. Despite the great ambitions and technological capabilities of China’s arms industry, China seems to have difficulty acquiring and bringing new platforms into the line, which of course is also due to its size and enormous needs. The modernisation deficiencies in the PLA are still enormous and much of the equipment used in the Chinese military represents Soviet technology of the 1960s and 1970s and in no way meets the requirements of the modern battlefield, which is particularly evident in the areas of armoured and mechanised units and fighter and strike aviation.
  5. The modernisation of the PLA will force the United States to continue its military prioritisation of the Pacific direction. In the years to come, the US will also demand support – including military support – from its NATO allies in the Pacific, which will probably be reflected in talks on NATO’s new strategic concept. Poland, however, taking into account the necessity to maintain good relations with the United States, should continue the approach emphasising the basic role of the Alliance as a collective defence organisation in the so-called treaty area (i.e., not including, inter alia, the Asia-Pacific area).

Author: Dr. Tomasz Smura, Head of the Analysis Office of the Casimir Pulaski Foundation

Download in *.pdf

[1]„China launches 3rd Type 075 amphibious assault ship,” Global Times, January 29, 2021,

[2] “China’s 2nd Type 055 large destroyer enters naval service,” Global Times, March 19 2021,

[3]“From 3rd aircraft carrier to fighter jets: weapons to expect in 2021,” Global Times, December 30 2020,

[4] „New regulation on military equipment takes effect, to boost PLA modernization,”Global Times, January 2 2021,

[5]“China’s centennial goal of building a modern military by 2027 in alignment with national strength: experts,” Global Times, October 31,

[6]Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2020, (Washington: Department of Defense, 2020), s. i-ii,

[7] See: Nomination – Austin III, the Senate Armed Services Committee,

[8]Military and Security Developments, 34-36.

[9]China’s National Defense in the New Era, (The State Council Information Office of  the People’s Republic of China, July 2019).

[10]Military and Security Developments, 24.

[11] Ibid., s. i.

[12]China’s National Defense.

[13] “China’s centennial goal.

[14] B. Góralczyk, „XIX zjazd KPCh – powrót cesarza i potęgi,” Komentarz Pułaskiego, October 25, 2017 r.,

[15]Military and Security Developments, 40-41.

[16] Ibid., 41.

[17]The Military Balance 2020. 2020, 260–261.

[18]Military and Security Developments, 41.

[19] Ibid., 44-45.

[20]“Chinese Navy conducts naval exercises with three Type 071 Yuzhao-class amphibious transport dock vessels,” Navy Recognition, November 27, 2020,

[21]“Chinese navy’s first Type 055-class destroyer enters service,” Janes, January 13, 2020,

[22] “China’s 2nd Type.”

[23]“China Launches 2 Type 055 Destroyers Simultaneously,” The Diplomat, July 4 2018,

[24]Military and Security Developments, 46.

[25]“Shipyard In China Launched The 25th Type 052D And 8th Type 055 Destroyers For PLAN,” Naval News, August 30, 2020,

[26]“China Launched the 30th (and last ?) Type 054A Frigate for the PLAN,” Navy Recognition, July 9, 2018,

[27]“PLA Navy commissions final Type 056A corvettes specialized in coastal defense,” Global Times, February 17 2021,

[28]“China Now Has Six Type 094A Jin-Class Nuclear Powered Missile Submarines,” National Interest, May 6, 2020,

[29]Military and Security Developments, 45-46.

[30] Ibid., 50.

[31]Military Balance 2016, 2016, 240-243.

[32]Military and Security Developments, 50.

[33] Ibid., 51.

[34] Ibid., 52.

[35] Is China at the Forefront of Drone Technology?, CSIS,

[36]Military and Security Developments, 52

[37]“China conducts mid-course antiballistic missile test, system ‘becomes more mature, reliable,’” Global Times, February 4, 2021,

[38]Annual Report to Congress, 55-56.

[39]Ibid., 55-59.

The Casimir Pulaski Foundation is an independent, non-partisan think-tank specialising in foreign policy and international security. The Pulaski Foundation provides analyses that describe and explain international developments, identify trends in international environment, and contain possible recommendations and solutions for government decision makers and private sector managers to implement. The Foundation concentrates its research on two subjects: transatlantic relations and Russia and the post-Soviet sphere. It focuses primarily on security, both in traditional and non-military dimensions, as well as political changes and economic trends that may have consequences for Poland and the European Union. The Casimir Pulaski Foundation is composed of over 40 experts from various fields. It publishes the Pulaski Policy Papers, the Pulaski Report, and the Pulaski Viewpoint. The Foundation also publishes “Informator Pułaskiego,” a summary of upcoming conferences and seminars on international policy. The Foundation experts cooperate with media on a regular basis. Once a year, the Casimir Pulaski Foundation gives the Knight of Freedom Award to an outstanding person who has promoted the values represented by General Casimir Pulaski: freedom, justice, and democracy. Prize winners include: Professor Władysław Bartoszewski, Professor Norman Davies, Alaksandar Milinkiewicz, President Lech Wałęsa, President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, President Valdas Adamkus, Bernard Kouchner, Richard Lugar, president Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, president Mikheil Saakashvili, Radosław Sikorski, Carl Bildt, president Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Michaił Chodorkowski, president Mary Robinson, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, president Dalia Grybauskaitė, as well as Thorbjørn Jagland and Aleksiej Navalny. The Casimir Pulaski Foundation has a partnership status with the Council of Europe.

Author: Tomasz Smura, Resident Fellow, Casimir Pulaski Foundation