Xi Jinping orders PLA to study the thoughts of predecessor Hu Jintao

Order seen as a move by President Xi Jinping to bolster legitimacy with armed forces

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 November, 2013, 4:57am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 November, 2013, 4:57am

The People's Liberation Army has been ordered to study former president Hu Jintao's thoughts on the military - a move analysts say is aimed at boosting the power and legitimacy of Xi Jinping among the armed forces.

The PLA Daily yesterday ran a front-page story that a booklet of Hu's thoughts would be circulated throughout the army.

Xi took over the leadership of the army from Hu last year. A meeting of top party leaders in Beijing announced earlier this month that reforms of the military would continue, including a reduction in the number of non-combat roles and an overhaul of the army's system of leadership.

Professor Ni Lexiong , a Shanghai-based military expert, said promoting Hu's military strategy would enhance Xi's political legitimacy and help him tackle resistance in the army to his reforms.

"It's inevitable that Xi will face resistance when dealing with military reform because some people's interests might be sacrificed, including those men promoted by Hu or even Jiang [Zemin] ," he said. "The booklet helps Xi show the army that his military reforms follow the legacies left by Hu, Jiang and Deng [Xiaoping] ."

Unlike Jiang and Deng, Hu quickly gave up all his leadership roles, including the presidency and chairmanship of the Central Military Commission.

A retired senior colonel said the circulation of the booklet helped increase Xi's backing among Hu and his supporters.

"He needs to say something to appreciate Hu's willingness to hand over all his positions in the party, government and the army," said the former officer, who asked not to be named.

"Xi also aims to use this booklet to prevent Jiang, who is unwilling to keep silent, from sticking a finger into his reforms."