Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping is shaping to make the People’s Liberation Army his primary vehicle for driving the party’s strategic aims this year.
The end of last year has brought remarkable policy and propaganda shifts in Beijing, mostly unreported in the democracies, that consolidate the CCP’s control of the military and make the PLA’s development the core of Xi’s personal authority.
On December 18, a story in party newspaper the People’s Daily stated “Xi does not simply command the PLA from behind a desk”. His “thinking” is central to attaining more powerful combat capability, which “should be the ‘sole and fundamental’ benchmark of the military”.
The key message was clear: the PLA has “strengthened its resistance” to “erroneous political views” and understands that “the party commands the gun”.
In following days Xi issued regulations to build “a strong and modernised logistics system for the military”, to establish “a new system for training military personnel” and a “set of newly revised military metrology regulations”. He also promoted four military and armed police officers to the highest rank of general.
On December 27, China’s National People’s Congress endorsed a new national defence law which, according to Global Times, was needed “for China to boost its national defence capabilities, including the capabilities to use them overseas for just causes”. A centrepiece is that “all citizens should enhance their ideas in national defence and improve their national defence skills”.