China rolls out new military reform plan

World Today

China rolls out new military reform planXi Jinping, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the CPC, rendered army flags to the newly established troops on Thursday.

China has announced the establishment of three military institutions under the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) including army leadership institution, rocket force, and strategic support troops.

This is the latest efforts after the country’s Central Military Commission announced the reform plan last year.

CCTV’s Han Bin has the details on the guidelines.

China announces new military reforms

Seven months ago, Beijing outlined a military strategy of 'active defense.' Two months ago, President Xi announced a major overhaul of the armed forces. And now, guidelines have been unveiled for China's national defense and military reform. CCTV's Han Bin has the details on the guidelines.

The Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China said in a statement on Friday that it is important to ensure the better management of the military commission, strengthen the combat capability of troops in military areas and comprehensively build military services. It also stressed on resolving the system barriers and policy problems hindering defense and military development.

In a meeting on Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the CPC, rendered army flags to the newly established troops. He said the entire military should strengthen its capability, implement military strategies under the new situation and comprehensively build a strong army through reforms.

“The establishment of the army leadership institution, the rocket troops, and the strategic support troops is important…to realize China’s dream of strengthening the military after considering the current situation,” Xi said. “It is also a strategic measure to build modern military power system with Chinese characteristics. This will definitely be a crucial milestone in modernizing China’s military and be enshrined in people’s military history.”

The spokesman of Defense Ministry Yang Yujun said on Friday that the establishment of these three institutions is a milestone in China’s military modernization.

Speaking of the rocket troops, Yang said the new name will be used instead of the existing Second Artillery Force and the troops will be the core of China’s military strategic deterrence. China is building a strong and modern rocket force, he added.

When responding to questions whether building a rocket force means that China is building up its nuclear power, Yang said China’s nuclear policy has been consistent. He added that China upholds the principle of “no first use of nuclear weapons”, which means it will only use them for self-defense.

Earlier, the spokesman told CCTV’s Han Bin that China is building its second aircraft carrier in the port city of Dalian.

Yang said the aircraft carrier will be entirely designed and produced by China. The carrier, with a displacement of 50,000 tons, will be a base for J-15 fighters and other types of aircrafts. Fixed-wing aircraft on the carrier will use a ski-jump to take off, he added.

Here are some key points of military reforms that will fundamentally transform the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

China currently has seven military regional commands. That means there are seven separate command structures, which has made coordination between the military regions difficult.To solve the problem, and strengthen the leadership of the Military Central Commission, the regional commands will be regrouped, and a general command center will be set up. The reforms will change the current military hierarchy structure and implement a multi-department central military commission.

China should have reduced its military personnel by 300,000 by the end of 2017. China will have about 2 million members after the reduction, compared with 6.27 million in October 1949.That will still mean that China has the largest military in the world. China’s smaller armed forces will greatly reduce the number of directly supervised institutions to make the work of the military more efficient and streamlined.

In August, 2015, the PLA released a package of preferential policies to attract well-educated recruits. According to the policies, college students will be given priorities in terms of their acceptance, health check-up times, admission to military colleges, approval of formal service and promotion in the army. They will also be given priorities with regards to employment and education after they leave from the army.

Xi vowed to root out corruption in the army and ensure the “rule of law” is properly adhered to in the armed forces. The increased accountability and scrutiny has led to the removal of some high-ranking military officers. 

On June 30, 2014, Xu Caihou, former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, was expelled from the Communist Party of China over multiple allegations including accepting bribes from officers seeking promotions.

On March 31, 2014, Gu Junshan, former deputy head of the PLA General Logistics Department, was prosecuted for embezzlement, bribery, misuse of State funds and abuse of power.

Weeding out graft in the military is a top goal and a new discipline inspection commission within the Central Military Commission is to set up to supervise the use of power.