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Locations of Chinese Underground Command Centers Revealed

May 31, 2012
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According to National Security Archive Fellow Matthew M. Aid’s blog, a declassified synopsis of a secret report published by the National Photographic Interpretation Center (October 1, 1984 – “Beijing Alternate Military Command Center”) reveals the location of an alternate military command center. Sheltered deep underground a mountain to the west of Beijing, this military center functions as a bunker for high-ranking political and military officials in times of war.  (Be sure to zoom the map out.)

Aid writes:

The report’s executive summary reads as follows: “A newly identified Alternate National Military Command Center is housed in an extensive underground complex beneath a mountain immediately west of Beijing. Because of its location near the capital and its above ground support and communications facilities, national military authorities and important political administrators could relocate there in the event of hostilities. This underground command center further confirms Chinese emphasis on increasing their odds of survival during war, by hardening underground command and control.”
According to open source materials, the Xishan underground command center dates back to the 1950s, when the Chinese military began a nationwide program of building deep underground bunkers designed to house hundreds of thousands of senior communist party officials and military personnel in case of nuclear war. But the Xishan bunker complex was reserved for the exclusive use of top Chinese government and military officials in wartime. And over the years, according to former intelligence officials, it has progressively been expanded and modernized. The American spy satellites were able to identify the entrance to the heavily guarded facility in 1984 because Chinese military construction troops were seen removing huge quantities of rock and dirt from the bunker during one of the period upgrades of the complex.

Moreover, there is another underground command complex that is hidden away in the Hubei Province. It was discovered by US satellites 4 years prior to the discovery of the Xishan bunker complex. In a National Photographic Interpretation Center report, the complex was described to have five separate areas (three operations areas, a communications area, and headquarters) that are connected by cables. Each area contains administration-style buildings.

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