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      This article focuses on the history of naval forces in China. There are several reasons why the naval forces of China have received so little attention. The Chinese Navy has been dwarfed by the massive Chinese Army. The air force and navy combined comprise at most about 20 percent of China's military manpower. Secondly, the navy is just now beginning to get its head of steam. Furthermore, it has heretofore maintained a low visibility, operating in waters close to its own shores from bases seldom if ever visited by foreigners, shunning traditional show-the-flag foreign port visits. It has been almost totally ignored in official Chinese press releases. Under this shroud of secrecy, information is simply unobtainable even by the increasing numbers of Western visitors to China. Moreover, the continental orientation of China is attributed by some Western scholars to a lack of affinity for the sea, which is thought to be more or less a fundamental national characteristic. On the other hand, the golden age of Chinese sea power came with the zenith of the Ming Dynasty in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, said to have begun in 1405 with a fleet of 62 ships carrying more than 37,000 men. At the start of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 the Chinese Navy enjoyed overwhelming numerical superiority. Its Manchu leadership, however, had no naval strategy except for the linkage of ships with guns ashore. Its warships remained compartmentalized into four provincial fleets spread along the coast, not coordinated with any single authority within the Manchu government.