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Communist Party of China keeps tight control over military

ANI | Updated: May 15, 2021 23:33 IST

Beijing [China], May 15 (ANI): The Communist Party of China pays great attention to its control over military as the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 convinced the party it must keep a hold on the military so its rule would not be challenged.
Josephine Ma, writing in South China Morning Post (SCMP) said that Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) is the largest in the world with two million active personnel because party and the (PLA) were entwined and in the early years of its rule, all Communist Party leaders had military experience.
In 1927, chairman Mao Zedong famously said that "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun". This was the year the Chinese communists staged the Nanchang uprising against the ruling nationalist government.
At the time, the Communist Party largely existed in the form of an armed rebellion against the ruling Kuomintang party. The revolutionary force, initially called the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, was later renamed the PLA.
It was the PLA that put the Communist Party in power when it won the Chinese Civil War in 1949. In the early years of its rule, all Communist Party leaders - from senior leaders such as Mao and Deng Xiaoping, to more junior figures such as Bo Yibo and Xi Zhongxun - had military experience.
As the founder, operator and leader of the army, the Communist Party has a closer relationship with the military than most political parties around the world, reported SCMP.
Since the Communist Party's ideology states that the party represents the interests of the people, the party has argued that having the military serve the party is tantamount to serving the state and the Chinese people.
Part of Mao's strategy to achieve this control over the army was to establish a Communist Party cell in every grass-roots military unit, to ensure loyalty to the party's decisions and ideology throughout, wrote Ma.
The PLA reports to the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the Communist Party and any talk of nationalising the military - suggesting the military would serve any elected political party - can be seen as subversive in China.
In theory, the PLA is also accountable to the National People's Congress, the highest organ of state power and the national legislature, through a parallel reporting line to another CMC under the State Council, China's cabinet.
But the two CMCs consist of exactly the same members, and the chairman of both is usually the leader of the party - currently President Xi Jinping.

After Xi came into power in 2012, he launched a sweeping anti-corruption campaign in the military and smashed the strongholds of many interest groups in the army.
Between 2013 and 2015, Xi purged all threats from within the party in a sweeping anti-corruption campaign, while accusing his rivals of planning a coup, reported SCMP.
In 2015, Xi moved to end the PLA's profit-making activities and ordered it to focus on transforming into a modern army that could win the wars.
Xi also personally headed a commission to shake up the PLA, and successfully uprooted the strongholds of vested interest groups by reorganising the headquarters, the troops and the military regions, wrote Ma.
He was named "commander-in-chief" in 2016, similar to the US president's position as the commander-in-chief of the country's armed forces, establishing command over the country's ground, naval, air and rocket forces.
In 2017, China amended the party charter to state that all military forces in China were accountable to the CMC chairman, putting in black and white in the party's most important document that the PLA and the paramilitary forces must be absolutely loyal to the CMC chairman, who is Xi at present, reported SCMP.
The president said the reforms were part of his efforts to turn the world's largest armed force into a modern military, on par with its Western counterparts.
Reforms were also introduced to bring the 1.5 million-strong paramilitary police force, the People's Armed Police Force (PAP), under the sole command of the CMC. Analysts said the change put the PAP directly under Xi's control, wrote Ma.
Previously, the PAP came under a dual command structure of the CMC and the State Council via the Ministry of Public Security.
It serves as a backup for the military in times of war and domestically has a role in putting down protests and counterterrorism - particularly in areas such as the restive far-western Xinjiang region - as well as border defence and firefighting.
In January this year, China further revised its National Defence Law to weaken the role of the State Council in formulating military policy, handing full decision-making powers to the CMC.
All of this has expanded the power of the CMC, headed by Xi, to mobilise military and civilian resources in defence of the national interest, both at home and abroad. (ANI)