In the parades of the 1950s, this configuration was present in every unit of the PLA up to the parade of 1959, but with the ensign and escorts drawn from individual formations. Today, only honor guards are granted color guard duty to represent the whole of the PLA. Being the seniormost branch of the PLA, the Ground Forces representative serves as the ensign in the service color guard, with the officer to his/her right being from the Navy and the officer to their left being from the Air Force. Since 1981, the PLA has continued a tradition of the colour guard detail with the PLA flag leading the Beijing Garrison Honor Guard Battalion in military parades. In December 2017, the Beijing Garrison Colour Guard Company of the People’s Armed Police, which is present during flag ceremonies in Tiananmen Square in Beijing carrying the national flag, was officially attached to the honor guard battalion.
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