Party asserts control over PLA to ease strained ties

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 May, 2004, 12:00am

The Communist Party has asserted its absolute control over the People's Liberation Army by issuing new regulations outlining the party's role within the military's ranks.

Some analysts see the move as an attempt to improve strained relations between the party and the PLA.

The party's Central Military Commission - the top command body - recently published 'the Chinese Communist Party Military Commission Work Regulations'.

They state that the party's plenary committees have the power to promote officers, monitor the work and integrity of leading officers and approve spending measures.

Previously, such military decisions were usually made by the unit commander and political commissar, with the unit's party committee performing a more ceremonial role.

To be implemented on a trial basis, the regulations are the first rules to standardise the role of Communist Party committees in the military since the founding of the People's Republic of China.

A report in the PLA Daily said the rules were aimed at 'ensuring the armed forces adhere to the command of the Communist Party Central Committee and the Communist Party Central Military Commission and maintain a high degree of stability and unity'.

Military analysts said the regulations might be an indicator of a deteriorating relationship between the Communist Party and the PLA.

Milton Wen-chung Liao, a PLA specialist at Taiwan's Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies, said ties between the party and military had been under strain since former president Jiang Zemin kept his post as chairman of the military commission while turning over the party leader- ship and presidency to Hu Jintao .

This was widely criticised as creating 'two centres of power' and reversing the tradition of the 'party controlling the gun'.