Arrest of top General signals China’s unfinished military revamp

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s sweeping anti-corruption campaign appears to have felled one more top General, who played a leading role in organising a spectacular military parade in Beijing last year.
The South China Morning Post is reporting that the military’s anti-corruption sleuths, last week, detained Major General Qu Rui, a deputy chief of the Combat Operations Department under the newly established Joint Staff Department of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
The reported arrest has preceded Monday’s celebrations marking the 89th anniversary of the formation of the PLA.
Gen. Qu played a major role in organising the grand parade at the capital’s Changan Avenue, in September last year, marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
Analysts say that the anti-graft drive in the military is part of an extensive restructuring of the armed forces on President Xi’s watch.
If confirmed, Gen.Qu’s detention would follow several arrests that have resulted after two former military Chiefs, Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, fell from grace. General Xu was arrested in 2014 but died of cancer, before he could face trial. General Guo was detained on July 25. Both the Generals were close to former Chinese President Hu Jintao- Gen. Guo’s ally Tian Xisu, a former PLA Air Force political commissar is also now under investigation for alleged corruption.
The expanding cleanup is part of a thorough overhaul of the military marshaled by President Xi. This has been marked by a tighter centralisation of power under the Central Military Commission (CMC) that the President heads.
In October 2013, the CMC had established a powerful inspection system, which, within two years has covered all the military commands. In the entire process of structural change, and the accompanying turbulence, the President has gone out of his way to stress the core cementing role that the Communist Party of China (CPC) is entrusted with, in steering the PLA’s transition.
A write up published by the state-run Xinhua news agency paraphrased President Xi as saying that the Party leadership was the be-all-and-end-all for building a strong army.
“The key of absolute loyalty to the Party is ‘absolute’,” Xi said. “It is unique, thorough, unconditional loyalty, without any impurities,” he observed.
The article added that following Xi’s decision, a conference on the army’s political work was convened in late October 2014, in Gutian Township, in the Fujian Province. The conference was full of political symbolism for the Gutian Township was the very same place that Mao Zedong presided over a conference that established the principle of the Party’s absolute leadership over the army in 1929.
“A document released after the conference urged the whole armed forces to stick to the fundamental principle of the Party’s leadership, and firmly implement the systems and mechanisms that ensure the CMC chairman responsibility system, through which the CPC leads the army,” the commentary said.
Another article run by Xinhua said that following the 18th National Congress of the CPC that was held in late 2012, the CMC had decided form a “leading group” — a unique institution of the Party — that later drafted a reform plan. Analysts say that under President Xi’s watch, “leading groups” appointed by the CPC are wielding enormous power in defining China’s major transitions including in the military and economic spheres.

Recommended For You

About the Author: editor