Chinese Army to Take ‘New Look’ by End of 2017

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The Chinese Army will be reduced by 300,000 servicemen, including high-ranking officers, by the end of 2017.

Chinese Army to Take ‘New Look’ by End of 2017

Photo: AP

The Chinese Armed Forces will soon lose about 50 high-ranking officers, including 18 generals, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported, citing two unnamed sources in the country’s military circles. By the end of 2017, the Chinese Army should be reduced by 300,000 servicemen, as its current command structure is too much cumbersome and archaic and does not let to build the modern armed forces.

Reportedly, there are both practical and political reasons of the lay-off. According to the newspaper, president of the Academy of Military Science, Cai Yingting, and political commissar of the National Defense University, Liu Yazhou, will be among the dismissed military. Most likely, the academy and the university will be merged. Two proteges of former General Secretary Jiang Zemin, General Jia Tingan and General Du Jincai, will also reportedly be dismissed.

Li Zuocheng, a hero of the Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979 and Commander of the PLA’s Ground Forces, Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the PLA’s Joint Staff Department, who always stood for a strict policy in relation to the US in the South China Sea, as well as three deputy heads of the Central Military Commission’s Joint Staff Department, General Qi Jianguo, General Xu Fenlin and General Wang Guanzhong also are among candidates for dismissal. All of them have reached the age of 63 years old, which is considered to be limitative for promotion on the military service.

Reportedly, the ‘faction of Jiang Zemin’ is dissatisfied with reforms and the anti-corruption campaign of the current General Secretary Xi Jinping. In this way, the dismissal of ‘potential oppositionists’ will help Jinping to strengthen his position in the army ahead of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, scheduled for the autumn of this year. A successor of Jinping, who will take his place in 2022, should be determined during the congress. However, many experts believe that Jinping will try to remain in power after his two terms, and in this case he needs an unconditional support of the army.

According to Vasily Kashin, a senior research scientist of the Institute for Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, we should not try to find a policy point in the dismissals.

“In connection with the reform the number of posts has reduced, and the dismissals are enough natural,” Kashin told the Kommersant newspaper. “Some part of the dismissed will go on retirement, another part will teach in military universities and colleges, others will work in bureaucratic structures.”

Will remind, as a result of the structure reform of the People’s Liberation Army of China, four general offices were replaced with 15 small departments, which require less staff. In total, the Chinese Armed Forces should be reduced by 300,000 men during 2017.

In addition to the lay-offs, the Chinese Army also awaits a reform of the military hierarchy. Currently, there is a parallel system of ranks and positions. Occasionally, this fact leads to a situation, when a serviceman of a higher rank (for example, Major General) is forced to obey an officer of a lower rank (Senior Colonel), who holds a higher position within the command structure. This circumstance, as well as the fact that servicemen of subsidiary structures usually grew in their positions faster than their counterparts in combat units, irritated Chinese officer personnel. These problems should be eliminated in the new reform. Now, the most important thing for military will be the rank, the speed of the growth in units will be level-headed, and the retirement age will be increased in order to keep valuable staff.

Only the problem of insufficient compensation for retired officers and soldiers remains unsolved. In October 2016 and early January 2017, Chinese military protested near the building of the Central Military Commission and the Defense Ministry, demanding payments and benefits, appointed to them, according to the law.

The post is based on this artilcle by BMPD blog

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