PLA soldiers, military experts heed Xi’s call to uphold Party leadership at 19th CPC Congress

By Li Qian Source:Global Times Published: 2017/10/24 21:53:39

Chinese military delegates leave after the opening ceremony of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held in Beijing on October 18. Photo: VCG

Editor's Note:

One of the many topics touched on by General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Xi Jinping in his comprehensive report at the 19th CPC National Congress was China's ambition to develop its military into a world-leading force. In order to achieve that goal, the military's absolute loyalty was demanded to the Party.

Chinese military personnel pledged loyalty to the CPC, vowing to stick to the principle of the Party's leadership over the army, as the CPC central leadership consolidated its supervision over the People's Liberation Army (PLA) at the latest Party congress.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, and also chairman of China's Central Military Commission (CMC), urged the Party to exercise absolute leadership over the PLA, in his speech delivered at the opening session of the 19th National Congress of the CPC on October 18.

"We must fully implement the fundamental principles and systems of Party leadership over the military, and see that Party strategy on strengthening military capabilities for the new era guides work to build national defense and the armed forces," Xi said during his 3.5-hour speech.

"We must continue to enhance the political loyalty of the armed forces, strengthen them through reform and technology, and run them in accordance with law," Xi said.

Heeding the call by Xi, military leaders and commentators reiterated their support for the top-down Party-PLA relationship.

CPC military delegates attending the Party congress voiced their approval during panel discussions. The Party's "absolute leadership" was the constant catchphrase during the meetings.

"The biggest and most important achievement of the Party and State in the past five years is the formation of the Party's core … We will fully implement the Party's pursuit of a strong army and fulfill our obligation to build a world-leading military force," said PLA soldier Zhao Keshi, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The PLA has been under the administration of the CPC ever since its birth. The army was established by the CPC in 1927 during China's revolutionary era, when the CPC began to lead military actions against the Kuomintang administration of the time. Earlier this year, the 90th founding anniversary of the PLA was marked with a parade of China's most advanced weaponry overseen by Xi, which was unprecedented in scale and openness.

"The PLA was created by the Party, and can only follow the leadership of the Party," Major General Luo Yuan, vice president of the China Strategic Culture Promotion Association, told the Global Times. The CPC is an organization focused on its political ideals, which also sets the direction for the army, he said.

The People's Liberation Army Daily, the PLA's official newspaper, published a series of reports and commentary before and during the 19th CPC National Congress reiterating the Party's absolute leadership.

The key for the PLA to grow from a small and weak force to an ever-stronger and triumphant military was the Party's strong leadership, said a commentary, adding that "only by consolidating this particular political advantage will the PLA maintain vitality and powerful combating capacity."

Nationalization impossible

Voices that call for the so-called nationalization of the army have appeared in China from time to time, becoming vocal a couple of years ago but criticized by many.

Luo rejected the idea as being impossible and unsuitable in China. "It [military nationalization] is essentially a step aimed at changing China's political system into the Western-style separation of powers," Luo said.

If the military is "nationalized," it will fall under the control of whichever political party takes State power, Luo said. "The CPC is the only ruling party of China, which means there is no possibility of changing the political structure," he said.

"The CPC is the core. The military must fit with China's national conditions," said Luo.

Decisive move

Others give full credit to Xi for the rapid development of China's military power and the current stable social and political situation.

In an article published in the Study Times, the official publication by the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, Commanding Officer of the Armed Police Force, General Wang Ning, called for "unconditional" and "downright" loyalty to Xi, the CMC chairman, so as to secure stability of the military and the country.

"Previously, Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou undermined and weakened the authority of the CMC chairman and seriously violated the political bottom line, which put the army in danger," Wang wrote. Guo, former vice chairman of the CMC, was sentenced to life in prison in July 2016 for accepting bribes, while Xu, also former CMC vice chairman, was removed from his post in 2014 for corruption and died of cancer the following year.

It was the CPC Central Committee and Xi who saved the Party and the PLA at the critical time by decisively moving against Guo and Xu and punishing corruption as well as clearing up their baneful influence, Wang wrote. Therefore, "it must be guaranteed that every single soldier is under the command of the CPC Central Committee, the CMC and Xi," Wang added.

"For soldiers of the PLA and the Armed Police, supporting the core and obeying the command is essential to resolutely implementing the CMC chairman's orders at any time and under any circumstance, and to resolutely answering the command of the CPC Central Committee, the CMC and Xi," said Xinjiang armed police officer Wang Aiguo, Xinhua reported.

The principle of the Party ruling over the military is essential for the nation's development, Party congress delegates said.

During the Party congress, Xi said that building people's forces that obey the Party's command, can fight and win, and maintain excellent conduct is strategically important to achieving the two centenary goals and national rejuvenation.

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Newspaper headline: Absolute loyalty


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