Xi orders PLA to be combat-ready

Xi orders PLA to be combat-ready

Chinese President Xi Jinping has begun his second five-year term ordering the country’s 2.3 million-strong military, the world’s largest, to be absolutely loyal to the ruling Communist Party and intensify its combat readiness by focussing on how to win wars.

The once-in-a-five-year Congress of the Communist Party endorsed Xi’s leadership of the party and the military and the presidency this week and approved his ideology to be written into its Constitution, elevating him on par with modern China’s founder Chairman Mao Zedong and his successor Deng Xiaoping.

Xi, 64, began his second tenure on Thursday by holding a meeting of top military officials, regarded as a main source of power base.

Xi, who heads the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC), the overall high command of Chinese military, is the only civilian leader in the body, which is otherwise packed with top most officials of the armed forces. The new CMC line-up, which was unveiled on Wednesday will be led by a group of seven, down from the 11 members who headed its operations earlier.

Earlier reports said Xi, who consolidated his power in the last five years with a massive anti-corruption campaign in which over a million officials were punished wanted to shrink the Standing Committee of the party to five from seven.

But apparently, he did not succeed as other groups in the party headed by former leaders pressed for status quo to include their nominees in the highest-ranking body bringing it a semblance of balance in power equations.

In the last night’s meeting of top military officials, some high-ranking officials were conspicuously absent, Hong- Kong based South China Morning Post reported.

It appeared from the state-run CCTV report that two top generals, the former chief of general staff General Fang Fenghui and director of the political work department, General Zhang Yang were absent.

Both Fang and Zhang were CMC members in Xi’s first term, but they were left out of the list of PLA delegates to this months party Congress.

Earlier, the two generals were taken away on the same day last month as part of a corruption investigation, the Post report said.

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