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The Paper: List of Army Commanders Published

A Chinese media, The Paper, published an official list of the commanders and political commissars of each of the 13 Armies of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

It also stated, “During this round of military reform, the PLA cut over 1,000 units at the Regimental level or above. It cut nearly half of the non-combat staff and 30 percent of officers. It deployed a few dozen military units and all of them moved out in three days. A few hundred generals were re-assigned to different posts and they all reported to their new office on the same day they received the order.”

Source: The Paper, August 16, 2017
http://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_1765430

Central News Agency: The List of Commanders of Each Army

Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported a list of the commanders and political commissars of each of the 13 Armies of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which they said they obtained recently. The PLA has recently cut its 18 armies down to 13. Comparing the heads of the old 18 armies and the new 13 armies, most of them remain at the top army posts and some were re-assigned as the Army Commander or Army Deputy Commander at a military region (theater command).

Top commanders of each army were all moved out of their own army unit and assigned to another one to eliminate the small interest groups they might have formed when they were in charge at the old army.

Source: Central News Agency, July 30, 2017
http://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/201707300107-1.aspx

Retired Officials Excluded from the PLA Anniversary Celebration Event

On August 1, China held the Celebration Party for the 90th Anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Xi Jinping gave an important speech.

All of the seven Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee members and current high-rank military and Party officers sat on the rostrum. However, none of the retired officials, from either the military side or the Party, was seated on the rostrum. This is totally different from the 70th or the 80th anniversary celebration where the retired officials were on the rostrum.

A political commentator suggested that this showed Xi has full control of the military, exceeding what the previous leaders had.

Source: Epoch Times, August 2, 2017
http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/17/8/2/n9487950.htm

Xi Jinping: We Absolutely Cannot Allow Splitting China

On August 1, China held the Celebration Party for the 90th Anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Xi Jinping gave a speech, stating “We absolutely will not allow any person, any organization, any party, at any time, using any means, to split any piece of China’s land from China. No one should expect that we will swallow the bitter result from the damage to our nation’s sovereignty, security, or development.”

Source: Duowei, July 31, 2017
http://news.dwnews.com/global/news/2017-07-31/60004426.html

People’s Daily: The Meaning of “Greetings, Chairman!”

Xi Jinping inspected the large-scale of military parade in Inner Mongolia on July 30, 2017, for the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Xi changed the greeting between himself (the inspector) and the soldiers to Xi’s stating, “Greetings, comrades!” and the troops’ shouting back, “Greetings, Chairman!”

This is the second time that Xi used this greeting. The first time was when Xi inspected the military parade in Hong Kong on June 30 this year.

In the past, the greeting was, “Greetings, comrades” and the response was, “Greetings, leader!”

People’s Daily published an article on its overseas website Haiwai Net to comment on the significance of the change to, “Greetings, Chairman!”

“China National Radio’s military commentator Luu Xicheng commented that this reflected the system that the Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) is in charge. The troops’ shouting ‘Greetings, Chairman!’ highlighted the key identity of the CMC Chairman and demonstrated the entire army’s attitude and will to follow the Chairman’s orders.”

Zhai Xiaomin, Professor of the PLA’s International Relations Institute commented that the CMC Chairman occupies a significant position in the military structure. “The current military reform structure ensures the implementation of the system that the CMC Chairman is in charge.” “PLA is an army under the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) direction. ‘The (Communist) Party directs the gun.’ ‘Greetings, Chairman!’ shows the CCP’s principle of controlling the army from the political direction. It is a manifestation of the Party’s absolute control over the army.”

{Editor’s note: There are two CMCs in China. One is the state CMC and one is the CCP’s CMC. These two CMCs are just two name plates belonging to the same person. The CCP’s CMC is what most of the people refer to. Thus Professor Zhai thinks “Greetings, Chairman” has a political implication.

The Chinese term “主席” could mean either the Chairman of the CMC or the President of China. The People’s Daily article clarified that it meant the CMC Chairman.

Source: Haiwai Net, August 2, 2017
http://opinion.haiwainet.cn/n/2017/0802/c353596-31049372.html

Comments on China’s Military Parade

On July 30, 2017, China held a large-scale military parade at Zhurihe, Inner Mongolia  for the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Around 12,000 soldiers participated in the parade. They demonstrated over 600 sets of military equipment (including tanks and missiles) and flew over 100 airplanes.

The following are comments from some overseas Chinese media:

BBC:

The Communist Party showcased its military power. Part of it was to send a warning to India and to the U.S., but mainly, it was to secure Xi Jinping’s leadership position. In (the CCP’s) culture, power is secured by the gun. Whoever controls the military and the police becomes the top leader. This was Xi demonstrating his power; the goal was to warn his political opponents: He has a stable power base and he is the big boss. He can make the calls for official’s appointments at Communist Party’s 19th Party National Congress.

VOA:

From China Central Television’s (CCTV)’s video of the Zhurihe military base, people could see a simulation of the building of the President’s Palace of Taiwan in the background. China purposely didn’t hide it, so as to send a warning message to Taiwan.

Duowei:

Xi gave four requirements to the parade troops. First, “Adhere to the fundamental principle and system that the (Communist) Party has absolute control over the military. (The Military should) always listen to the Party and follow the Party.” Second, “Adhere to the goal of serving the people and always stand alongside the people.” Third, “Adhere to the fundamental standard of combat capability and focus on preparing for wars.” Fourth, “Adhere to building the army via political management, reform, technology, and the rule of law.”

“Adhering to the Communist Party’s absolute control over the military” is the political core intent of this military parade.

Epoch Times:

Five issues can be observed from the military parade:

1. This was the first time that the Communist Party held a military parade on the PLA’s anniversary.

2. This was the first time to focus on real combat. Soldiers wore camouflage instead of formal uniforms. They ran to their positions instead of walking in parade steps. Xi Jinping also wore camouflage.

3. Fan Changlong, the Vice Chairman of the CMC, called Xi Jinping the “Superior Leader” (领袖) and “Commander-in-Chief” (统帅). It showed that Xi has secure his position and in his power over the military.

4. This was a show of power in front of the upcoming Party’s 19th National Congress, during the in-fight between Xi Jinping and former leader Jiang Zemin and his faction.

5. It also served as warning to certain countries around China.

Sources:
1. BBC, July 31, 2017
http://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/press-review-40781062
2. VOA, July 31, 2017
https://www.voachinese.com/a/xi-military-20170731/3966404.html
3. Duowei, July 29, 2017
http://news.dwnews.com/china/news/2017-07-29/59827853.html
4. Epoch Times, July 30, 2017
http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/17/7/30/n9479244.htm

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