FACTSHEET | April 12, 2021

Personnel Accounting Progress in China

China Operations Total Each Category Identified
Remains repatriated through unilateral operations (2014)
Remains repatriated through unilateral operations (1975) 2 2
Remains recovered and repatriated through investigative and recovery operations since 1992 23 23
Total remains identified 1975 to present 26 25

Status of U.S. – China Cooperation

  • Jan 2021: DPAA conducted a two-day virtual archival research teleconference with PLA Archives to discuss ongoing cases and site exploration. 
  • 2020: DPAA requested bilateral discussion with the MFA and PLA Archives to discuss archival access and site exploration.
  • May 2019:  DPAA sent one investigation team (IT) into China to investigate incidents and possible recovery associated with American personnel missing from WWII.
  • July 2018: DPAA Director met with senior officials from the MFA and PLA Archives in Beijing, China to discuss increased archival access and coordination for ongoing cases and desire to conduct operations in the next year.  Revisions to the 2008 MOU between DPAA and PLA Archives were discussed, with tentative talks to occur in the US in September/October.    
  • May 2018:  DPAA met with senior officials from MFA, and PLA Archives in Washington D.C. to discuss ways to move the accounting mission forward in China.
  • June 2017:  DPAA sent one investigation team (IT) into China to investigate incidents and possible recovery associated with American personnel missing from WWII.
  • October 2016:  DPAA met with the MFA, OIMC, and PLA Archives in Beijing, China.  PLA-A discussed cases for investigation and DPAA provided an update on the FY17 operational plan.  DPAA’s goal is to conduct two missions a year into China.  DPAA also reiterated support of a    PLA-A archivist and researcher visit the national Archives/Library of Congress in the upcoming year.
  • September 2016:  Greater Asia analyst, researchers meet with PLA Archives researchers for 1st Joint Archival Working Group.  A detailed and in-depth information exchange transpires leading to a better understanding of their procedures.  PLA Archives request DPAA support for archivist and researchers to visit the national Archives/Library of Congress in December 2016.
  • April 2016:  Dir Linnington travelled to China and met with officials from MFA, OIMC, and the PLA Archives Department.  The MFA informed DPAA that the upcoming mission to Liaoning province was cancelled due to security concerns in the region.  DPAA is planning for Bilateral talks to take place in early Fall to discuss missions opportunities for FY2017.
  • February 2016:  Conducted bilateral discussions with MFA and PLA Archives presenting proposed missions for FY 16 and a visit by our new Director to meet MFA and PLA Archives officials in April.
  • November 2015:  DPAA sent a representative to participate in a ceremony returning remains from a previously excavated sight in Tibet to the U.S., discovered by a Chengdu Museum salvaging the aircraft.
  • July 2015:  China Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) informed DPAA through the U.S. Defense Attaches Office Beijing that it would not be able to support DPAA’s proposed investigative field activities in Yunnan Province in July 2015 and Liaoning Province in September 2015.  DPAA is now working on plans to propose joint field activities in China in FY2016.
  • April 2015:  A 4-person DPAA delegation conducted working level talks with China MFA and China MND/PLA Archives Department On April 13, 2015.  The purpose of the talks was to propose DPAA field activities in China in FY2015, discuss the particular cases proposed for investigation, discuss the upcoming annual meeting with the PLA Archives in Washington in June 2015. 

Cold War Statistics

Recovered Alive Remains Recovered Remains Identified Unaccounted-For
12 5 5 28[i]

[i]November 29, 1952 – The Chinese shot down a CIA-operated C-47 with four crewmembers in Jilin Province. The pilot and co-pilot died in the crash. The Chinese captured the two other crewmembers and returned to the U.S. in 1971 and 1973. In 2004, JPAC recovered and identified the remains of the pilot. The co-pilot remains unaccounted-for.

January 18, 1953 – Chinese ground fire damaged a U.S. Navy P2V carrying 13 crewmembers, causing it to ditch in the Taiwan Straits. Initially, a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) PBM-5G aircraft with a crew of eight rescued 11 of the P2V crewmembers; however, it crashed on take-off in heavy seas. The USS Halsey Powell rescued 10 crewmembers from both aircraft. Six P2V crewmembers and five PBM-5G crewmembers remain unaccounted-for.

August 22, 1956 – Chinese fighter aircraft shot down a U.S. Navy P4M carrying 16 crewmembers off the Zhoushan Archipelago. U.S. ships recovered two remains and the Chinese recovered and repatriated two other remains of crewmembers. Twelve Americans are still unaccounted-for.

October 01, 1958 – Taiwan’s military chartered a civilian PBY-5A amphibious plane, called "Blue Swan" or “Blue Goose,” to ferry four U.S. service members and three Taiwanese officers from the island of Matsu back to Taiwan, but it never arrived. The cause of disappearance is undetermined, and an intense, three-day, air-sea search revealed no wreckage or survivors. All onboard remain unaccounted-for.

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