XI STRIPS STATE COUNCIL OF CONTROL OVER MILITARY POLICY
China has expanded the power of its Central Military Commission (CMC) – headed by President Xi Jinping – to mobilize military and civilian resources in defense of the national interest, both at home and abroad, Minnie Chan reported for the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
Revisions to the National Defense Law, effective from January 1, weaken the role of the State Council – China’s cabinet – in formulating military policy, handing decision-making powers to the CMC.
For the first time, “disruption” and protection of “development interests” have been added to the legislation as grounds for the mobilization and deployment of troops and reserve forces, with critics claiming Xi wants the military to intervene anywhere.
China’s success at controlling the COVID-19 pandemic has been seen by Beijing, albeit wrongly, as an endorsement of the Communist Party’s authoritarian rule, particularly as many Western countries are still struggling with rising numbers of infections.
The legislation also specifically mandates the establishment of a nationwide coordination mechanism for the mobilization of state-owned and private enterprises to take part in research into new defense technologies covering conventional weapons, as well as the non-traditional domains of cybersecurity, space and electromagnetics.
Military and political analysts said the amendments aimed to strengthen the country’s military leadership under Xi, providing it with the legal grounds to respond to the challenges of accelerating confrontations between China and the US.
Deng Yuwen, a former deputy editor of the Communist Party publication Study Times, said the amendments aimed to legalize and formally apply the “special” nature of China’s political and defense system when dealing with situations that could harm the regime at home and abroad.
“China’s political nature is very different from many countries … it’s not surprising for Beijing to enhance the leadership of the CMC when the PLA is going out to defend China’s national interests across the world,” said Deng, who is now an independent political commentator in the US.
WEEKLY FEATURE : JOSE MARI CHAN AND THE CHRISTMAS ANTHEM