Chinese President Xi Jinping has ensured complete control of and loyalty from the military soon after the 20th Party Congress bestows power on him for the third time and preparing the armed forces to focus their energy on efficiency to wage wars, speed up the improvement of their ability to win, and effectively fulfill the “missions and tasks of our army in the new era”.
The bottom line is spelt out clearly, that the armed forces must “resolutely be loyal to” to Xi, and “support, safeguard and defend” the leadership to the core. As reported by the state media, Xi asked the army to “adhere to the only fundamental standard of combat effectiveness, focus all energy on fighting, work hard on fighting, accelerate the improvement of winning capabilities, and resolutely defend national sovereignty , security, development interests, and complete the various tasks entrusted by the party and the people”.
The president, in his capacity as the party general secretary and chairman and joint commander-in-chief of the central military commission, recently inspected the Joint Operation Command Center of the Central Military Commission, indicating that the new Central Military Commission will implement the spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and comprehensively strengthen military training and preparation.
The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China “made strategic arrangements for national defense and army building from the overall situation of building a modern socialist country and promoting the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in an all-round way, emphasizing the need to achieve the goal of the army’s centenary struggle as scheduled”, special articles published on the occasion pointed out.
The control of the military is not in physical terms, but ideological. As reported, the entire army was instructed it “must conscientiously implement the deployment requirements of the CPC Central Committee and the Central Military Commission, study, publicise and implement the spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China well, ensure that the spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Party takes root in the army, and take practical actions to create a new era of national defense and military modernization”.
The party leadership uses the excuse of external threats o make the military realise how crucial its deference to the leadership is in such a situation. “At present, the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, accelerating the evolution of my country’s security situation, increasing instability and uncertainty, and arduous tasks in the military struggle. The whole army must implement the Party’s idea of strengthening the army in the new era, implement the military strategic policy for the new era, adhere to the only fundamental standard of combat effectiveness, focus all energy on fighting, work hard on fighting, accelerate the improvement of winning capabilities, and resolutely defend national sovereignty, security, development interests, and fulfill the tasks entrusted by the party and the people.”
A special reference is then made to completely adhere to the principles of Xi’s leadership and “arm the mind” with Xi Thought. It reiterates that “practice has fully proved that the most fundamental reasons for the historic achievements and historic changes in the cause of the Party and the country in the new era are the fact that General Secretary Xi Jinping has been at the helm as the core of the Party Central Committee and the core of the whole party, and the scientific guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”.
Clear instructions were issued to the military personnel about loyalty to the leader and the party. The cadres of the units directly under the Military Commission were told “it is necessary to comprehensively strengthen the Party building in the military, unswervingly uphold the Party’s absolute leadership over the People’s Army, and more consciously safeguard Comrade Xi Jinping’s position as the core of the Party Central Committee and the core of the entire Party”.
The message is iterated to the personnel in another way as well asking them to “unswervingly maintain a high degree of consistency with the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core in thought, politics and action, and be absolutely loyal, absolutely pure, and absolutely reliable in order to ensure that the barrel of the gun always obeys the Party’s command”.
“It should be noted that a large developing country with a vast land area, a huge population and wide regional differences must bear all kinds of pressures and severe challenges that other countries have never encountered before. Therefore, ‘our modernisation is both the most difficult and the greatest’. China’s development has entered a period wherein strategic opportunities, risks and challenges will co-exist, and uncertainties and unpredictability will increase. All kinds of ‘black swan’ and ‘grey rhino’ incidents may happen at any time.”