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How Albania Destroyed 11,000 Chinese Artillery Pieces PDF Print E-mail
Chinese blogger   

Albania was promoted in China by the communist regime as” A Red Beacon of Europe”. Because of that, it was one of the main countries receiving considerable military assistance from China. The central items received were pieces of artillery. China ultimately provided 11,000 pieces to Albania. This is surprising as Albania was so small yet owned 11,000 pieces of artillery. At that time, even the two superpower countries, the Soviet Union and United States did not have so many artillery pieces in use with their standing army. (Here we do not count the military equipment which belonged to the ally countries of NATO and the Warsaw Pact). Imagine what huge artillery units Albania held to manage the more than 11,000 pieces of artillery. Tiny Albania only has a land area of 2.87 square kilometers, two-thirds mostly rugged mountains). The people of Albania would have seen artillery that was  “Made in China” ieverywhere they looked.

As I have a strict approach and abide by good practices, I decided to reconfirm this matter before writing this blog article in Through re-consulting the internal information (the document had been declassified long time ago, I knew the rules of the Privacy Code quite well, I was not allowed to take any notes, not even one Chinese character before I left the country , but all done.) After multi-verification, the results were all the same, and proved that China assisted Albania with artillery from 1961 to 1978. During this period, there was no war in Albania. Therefore, no war wastage existed. After reading the relevant information, then I understood that Albania, besides meeting the normal requirements of the Army, had large stockpiles hidden in underground magazines.  

From 1961 to 1978, Albania had received weaponry assistance (here I do not use “military assistance” because weapon & equipment assistance is only one elements of military assistance) from China, including: 752,000 (Ting) Guns, 1.564 billion Bullets, 890 Tank & Armored vehicles, 11,000 pieces of Artillery, 8.22 million Cannonballs, 180 airplanes, 46 vessels, one pair of Surface to Air Missile Systems, 224 Missiles, 196 Fish-Torpedoes, 4230 motor vehicles. (other forms of assistance such as the building of airports were not included in this calculation). China also offered “full service” to the recipient countries,to help familiarize them with the use of the weapons received.  

The leader of Albania’s Labor Party, Hoxha, was against Mao Zedong’s “Three Worlds Theory”, and strongly opposed the close relationship between China, Romania & the former Yugoslavia. Different ideologies appeared on the two sides, and Albania sent a delegation to China to discuss the issue of assistance in 1973, its endless asking for assistance and proposed projects finally being refused by the Chinese government.

In 1978, China‘s reforms and "opening up" had been seeking an all-round ‘leap forward’ posture. Albania attacked China on the full restoration of capitalism, more hateful and terrible than the Revisionism of the Soviet Union. So the overall deterioration in relations between the two countries finally led Deng Xiaoping to completely halt assistance to Albania. Some people said, during the era of Deng Xiaoping’s dictatorship, China’s foreign aid had stopped. But in fact, the names on the list for China’s assistance only increased, not reduced. The three newly assisted countries were major nations in Africa. If a large country did not have a group of brothers voicing support for you in the international arena, you would be very isolated; no one would listen to your speeches. Therefore, assistance was necessary.

Here, some people may ask why the Chinese leadership such as Bai Wenhang supported Albania at that time? In fact, the assistance was mutual. Albania gave strong support for China entering the United Nations. In those days, Hoxha sent his strongest diplomatic missions to attend the General Assembly of the United Nations. Furthermore he made efforts to negotiate with countries friendly to Albania to enable them to vote for China’s entry.

Democracy replaces communism

After 1978, China gradually ceased its military assistance to Albania (China still satisfied the need for weaponry parts in a variety of ways). By using reserve military assistance, the military training of Albania was not affected. Until the collapse of the socialist camp in Europe, the army of Albania was still full of Chinese military equipment. In 1992, the Labor Party of Albania (renamed the Socialist Party) was defeated by the Democratic Party in a general election. The 48-year history of one-party leadership had ended. Until then, the armed forces of Albania still used Chinese equipment. The Democratic Party of Albania was trying to import weapons from Western European countries, but it was so poor and had no money to update the weapons. The army eventually had to keep using the Chinese weapons from the 60s-70s.

Albania joined NATO on April 01, 2009. Seven to eight years prior to that time, especially at the outbreak of the Kosovo war, the United States and NATO countries had begun to re-equip Albania’s army, and gradually eliminated all weapons obtained from China.

Well, where did the Chinese artillery peaces go? All pieces were melted in a steelmaking plant.

In order to flatter the United States and NATO countries, the Democratic Party of Albania prepared to send some samples to these countries to help them investigate the existing level of Chinese military equipment. However, the United States and Western European countries did not accept this help, because they already had this information. Also, the Chinese Army had begun to gradually update existing equipment.

There is no doubt that the Albanian people are still using machines, tools and daily necessities that were made from some of socialist China’s “raw materials”.

Notes by the author: The material and figures in this article came from China's national archives, so I can not publically thank those people who helped me on this issue.



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