The Chinese military, the world’s largest, has pledged absolute loyalty to President Xi Jinping, further consolidating his hold on power after the recent key Congress of the ruling Communist Party conferred on him a leadership status akin to party founder Mao Zedong. 63-year-old Xi heads the Communist Party of China as its general-secretary, and the military besides the presidency. “The Chinese military will be absolutely loyal, pure, reliable, and resolutely follow the orders of Central Military Commission (CMC) Chairman Xi Jinping,” China’s highest military authority has said. The eight-member CMC is the overall high command of the 2.3 million strong People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Xi is the only civilian in the CMC. Xi commenced his second term as the head of the party after the conclusion once-in-a-five-year Congress of the CPC on October 24. The Congress also included Xi’s political philosophy on China the party’s new Constitution, making him the only leader after Mao and Deng Xiaoping to have that honour. Following his election, the CMC recently issued a document on fully implementing the chairperson’s responsibility system in the PLA. The amendment to the CPC Constitution clarified that the chairperson of the Central Military Commission assumes overall responsibility for the work of the commission and that the CMC is responsible for party work and political work in the armed forces, state-run China Daily reported today.
The military has to support the responsibility system in politics, thought, organisation, institutions and behaviour. The entire military has to be “absolutely loyal, absolutely pure, absolutely reliable, resolutely follow Xi’s orders, be responsible to Xi, and let Xi rest assured”, it said. Fully implementing the system is crucial to the fundamental direction of military construction, as well as building a strong nation with a strong military in the new era, the document said. The document was published amid Xi’s visits to various military departments and related events. In the crackdown against corruption during his first tenure since 2012, over 1,3000 military of officials were reported to have been punished. This included over 40 top generals.
On October 25, a day after the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Xi held the first executive meeting of the CMC, where he called for the military to function under the authority of the party and be ready to fight and win wars. A day later, Xi appeared at a meeting of top level military leaders, calling on them to work hard to enforce discipline in the armed forces.