Xi issues new rules to rein in PLA excesses
President moves to consolidate control over army and says military must take the lead to protect authority of the Communist Party
President Xi Jinping has laid down a series of orders for the military in a move to advance his anti-extravagance campaign and further consolidate his control over the army.
The president reminded the Central Military Commission - the top decision-making body, which he leads - that the army was expected to take the lead to protect the Communist Party's authority, according to the People's Liberation Army Daily.
"Be determined to do the things the party asks you to do, and be resolute in rejecting things that are prohibited by the party," Xi was quoted as saying. "It should be ensured that the gun barrel is held only by reliable people who are loyal to the party."
The two-day meeting in Beijing, which ended yesterday, was dedicated to studying Xi's call for party officials to toe a "mass line" by rejecting excessive bureaucracy, formalism and extravagance - his so-called eight rules.
In it, Xi also urged the military to enhance its preparedness for battle, seek innovative management structures, fight corruption and otherwise strengthen the armed forces. Those in the military should not be a privileged case, he said.
Xi's eight rules were adopted by the 25-member Politburo in December amid mounting popular anger over various social ills, with injustice and official corruption top public concerns. Expensive meals and showy official trips have been banned since the rules were adopted.
Meanwhile, Xi also urged the country's soldiers to stay "red-blooded" and combat-ready in peacetime, according to a separate report in the PLA Daily. It said Xi has "repeatedly stressed" that soldiers should not become complacent in peacetime.
Xi has taken several steps to tighten his grip on the army since becoming chairman of the CMC in November, issuing new orders and making frequent visits to military commands.
Antony Wong Dong, president of the Macau-based International Military Association, said Xi appeared to be compelled to consolidate his military authority amid rising social unrest, the slowing economy and rumours of flagging army loyalty after removal of Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai.
"Xi's frequent moves may reflect that the army is still shaky," he said. "It will be difficult for him to retain his realm if he cannot control the army, especially when social discontent can easily erupt."
Yue Gang , a retired colonel and military commentator, said Xi held the army to a higher standard and wanted it to lead the way in implementing Beijing's orders.