Hu Jintao

Uphold party spirit, PLA officers told

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 February, 2007, 12:00am


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PLA officers have again been warned to uphold the party spirit and make the interests of the forces the top priority amid the continuing leadership reshuffle and nationwide military reforms, the PLA mouthpiece reported.

The warning came just a week after a new national logistics system that pools all military resources, allowing them to be redeployed more evenly and efficiently, was formally implemented.

Under the system, headquartered in the Jinan Military Region, the navy, land and air forces will benefit more equally from the combined funds, supplies and facilities, and shared information. It aims to change the tradition in which land forces had had priority over the other two sectors.

Milton Liao Wen-chung, a Taiwanese military researcher and a Council of Advanced Policy Studies expert who specialises in the PLA, said the system had been in the works for more than seven years before being approved by President Hu Jintao , who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Mr Liao said the People's Liberation Army had historically given more privileges to land forces - where most top military leaders had a background - against a backdrop of promotion dependent on factional loyalties. Technically skilled officers also were paid a pittance.

'The two reasons have caused two-thirds of the intellectuals in the PLA to quit, in turn seriously slowing the army's development.'

In a rare move, the PLA Daily ran three articles on Thursday urging officers to sacrifice their personal benefits, uphold party rules and strictly enforce Central Military Commission orders.

'If each cadre thinks in his own way, [our army] will become like a plate of loose sand, and we won't be able to do anything,' one of the articles said, adding that such disunity would have serious repercussions for the party and the nation.

The article also warned officers against paying lip service to central government edicts, a common problem among local officials.

'Cadres have different levels of ignorance when it comes to party interests, with some caring a bit, some focusing on their own organisations, and some even advocating sectionalism and protectionism,' it said, adding all officers were responsible for obeying central orders.

Mr Hu has pushed through reforms since he took over as military chief from Jiang Zemin in 2004, including the demobilisation of 200,000 soldiers last year, lowering the PLA's active strength to 2.3 million.

Last June, Mr Hu also promoted 10 senior officers from departments that oversee party work, ideology, discipline, culture and propaganda to the rank of full general to strengthen his grip on the army.