Generals support PLA enterprise ban

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 March, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 March, 1999, 12:00am

Leading PLA officers have vowed to support the party's decision to close military enterprises.

Speaking at the fringe of the NPC, officers who are deputies said it had taken the PLA just six months to implement the decision to stop business operations.

General Chen Jinhu admitted that it had dealt a blow to army finances. 'Yet, once the order came from the party central committee and the Central Military Commission, both senior and junior officers went about implementing it as speedily as the thunder and the wind,' the semi-official Hong Kong China News Agency quoted General Chen as saying.

Chief of Staff General Fu Quanyou said the party authorities had shown their 'care and high priority' for army construction through raising the PLA budget and other subsidies.

'We must adopt the path of attaining military modernisation through relatively few investments but relatively high efficiency,' General Fu said.

However, several officers admitted difficulties in rendering the business ban permanent.

General Sun Chengjun stressed the need for more education and ideological campaigns on the imperative of the PLA staying away forever from commercial activities.

'We face a difficult task of consolidating the fruit of the decision about banning businesses,' he said.

'We should continue to do a good job of publicity and education so as to strengthen the concept of the army never running businesses.' The news agency quoted General Zhang Wannian as saying: 'The PLA must run well its limited management [activities] so that they can give the best results.' Analysts said the statement of General Zhang, a vice-chairman of the military commission, confirmed reports that the PLA had retained a sizeable quantity of key business operations.

Western analysts said different PLA units had hung on to the most profitable commercial ventures.