The South China Morning Post reported (November 28) that the PLA Daily had on November 23 said that all Chinese outposts at altitudes of more than 3,000 metres altitudes had been equipped with oxygen generators and troops stationed higher than 4,000 metres would receive mandatory oxygen therapy for an hour each day. The PLA Daily said “The data shows daily one-hour oxygen therapy can increase blood-oxygen saturation by 9 per cent and greatly reduce the chance of altitude sickness. The therapy will become more of a fitness method than a medical treatment.” It said apart from building large oxygen generation stations, truck-mounted generators, and hyperbaric oxygen cabins, the PLA has also developed portable generators, cylinders, and even portable hyperbaric cabins and chemical generators for individual soldiers, adding that “Oxygen available anytime, anywhere, even in bed, has become the new normal.” The CCP-owned Global Times said the first batch of mechanical exoskeleton suits -- each weighing 4 kg -- to help soldiers overcome the effects of altitude on even basic tasks like walking and carrying equipment were delivered earlier this month.  It quoted the suit’s designer Zhang Lijian of the China Aerospace Science & Industry as saying “In tasks like border patrols or carrying supplies in the high-altitude mountains, due to the complex terrain and strong wind, many jobs have to rely on soldiers on foot. The exoskeleton could save them much stamina climbing or carrying loads.” Troops deployed at PLA outposts above 5,000 metres have been moved into thermal housing with a smart solar energy system that can maintain indoor temperatures of 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) in environments of minus 40 degrees Celsius (also minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit) outside. The accommodation, which uses no outside energy supply and does not require a professional engineer for assembly, is made up of modules for sleeping, dining, shower, toilet and storage. It has its own local electricity network and heating system. Sun Shihai, research fellow at the China Centre for South Asian Studies at Sichuan University, said the situation in the border region was to be relatively quiet over winter, but would remain tense until next year.

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