New laws planned to control military

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 March, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 March, 1999, 12:00am

Laws and regulations will be introduced to tighten control over the military, President Jiang Zemin told its leaders yesterday.

'Not only should we govern the country according to law, it is also necessary to promote the concept of governing the army according to law,' China Central Television quoted him as saying.

'Corruption and malpractices, such as involvement in smuggling activities, will not be allowed,' he told PLA delegates to the National People's Congress.

Efforts must be made to make sure all military laws and regulations were obeyed and to improve the ability of leading military officials to handle affairs in accordance with the law, the President said.

He vowed to punish severely military officials who were caught violating discipline.

Referring to the PLA as a 'strong pillar for the people's democratic dictatorship', Mr Jiang said the military must maintain stability in its ranks through 'powerful ideological education and strict management'.

'Using strong political work and serious management will truly do a good job of maintaining army stability.' He said that the military, by giving up its business empire by the end of last year, would be able to concentrate on modern defence building.

The President also appealed for army unity and the military's support for reforms, hinting that there might be conflicts of interest regarding the party's ban on military businesses.

'We must guide the broad masses of officers and soldiers to enhance confidence in the reform, take a correct attitude towards interests, readjustments in various reforms, and contribute to the great cause of reform through concrete action.' Mr Jiang pointed out that a major task for the military was to strive to improve the troops' quality and combat effectiveness.

He was anxious to dispel Western criticism that the PLA received a disproportionately large share of the budget, stressing that the army should brush up its performance despite limited additional resources.

'Though the military budget recorded only a controlled growth, the quality of the army cannot be sacrificed,' he said.

Defence modernisation should be based on the principle of 'small investment and high efficiency', the President added.

More investment should be used to advance science and technology necessities to enhance the PLA's hi-tech defence capabilities, to promote military training, to recruit better qualified personnel, and to enhance its logistics guarantee.

China's budget of 104.65 billion yuan (HK$97.32 billion) for the military was 12.7 per cent up on last year.