Army goes on political manoeuvre
By WILLY WO-LAP LAM
OFFICERS in the Fujian military district have vowed to put ideological and political training as the main task in 'army construction'.
The district is part of the Nanjing War Zone, which is responsible for the Taiwan Strait.
The Liberation Army Daily quoted officers as saying political commissars and senior functionaries had decided to get involved personally.
The newspaper said a number of units in the district had not paid enough attention to training in these spheres.
'Some units merely pay lip service to ideological and political education, and work has not been well done,' it quoted officers as saying.
Party committees in some divisions had done research on the subject only once or twice each year, they said. Moreover, individual commissars had merely gone through the motions by holding conferences or passing along documents on ideological issues.
Commissars would now personally conduct surveys on the ideological performances of officers and soldiers.
They would also organise classes and make investigations and assessments.
The drive on ideology and politics has come after President Jiang Zemin's recent speeches on 'attaching the utmost importance' to the issues.
Senior generals have also revived Maoist doctrines such as 'people's warfare' and emphasised that 'will power' is vital in battle.
Until recently, the focus of the Central Military Commission, which is chaired by Mr Jiang, had been on raising combat ability and developing weapons.
Military analysts said the political drive was understandable as contenders jockeyed for positions within the leadership.
Politics was also stressed in the early 1990s when the General Political Department in the People's Liberation Army was controlled by General Yang Baibing, who was engaged in a power struggle with Mr Jiang.
Meanwhile, in an effort to raise morale, army commissars have been paying more attention to soothing the feelings of the rank and file.
It was reported yesterday a division of the Chengdu Military Region had abandoned the method of forcing new conscripts to go through an unreasonable degree of hardship.
'Training must progress from the easy to the difficult and take a gradual approach,' a division chief in the military region said.
Officers in a unit in the Second Artillery division believed recruits should be treated with 'the heart of parents and the sentiments of brothers'.