This has come up on the board a few times over the years. There were discussions about Russian 44 re-use, Chinese production and use of SKS rods. I spoke to the guy at Omega about the cleaning rods as he had actually been in China, saw where the rifles he purchased came from (salt mines, wrapped in wire bundles). He told me the smooth rods were off of SKSs. He was amused that I asked if there was a special Chinese Type 53 rod. I've yet to take the time to check out my 60s SKS to see if the cleaning rod is the same or fits the Type 53. Good question, hope to see a new discussion on this topic!
He made a comment that the Chinese didn't care between an SKS and T53 rod. He told me they were issued to village/district police and militia. They used what they had or what wasn't broken. Changing to my own comments and not his, has anyone seen a smooth cleaning rod on the newer imports? I know the older imports had them. The few I purchased over the recent year that had rods were ribbed.