PLA adds legal advisers to lower ranks

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 October, 2014, 5:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 October, 2014, 5:01am

The PLA will add legal advisers to its lower ranks - a move one expert said could help protect against any possible military coup.

In the past, only brigade commanders or more senior officers had legal consultants, said Zeng Zhiping, a military law expert at the Nanchang Institute of Technology in Jiangxi. Without such advisers, lower units were at risk of blindly following superiors in times of instability, Zeng said.

"Some ambitious senior officials may abuse their position and cultivate a power base, using blind allegiance from subordinates, sowing the seeds of a potential military coup."

Ambitious senior officials may abuse their position and cultivate a power base
Zeng Zhiping, military expert

Zeng said some local garrisons in the past would deploy soldiers to help local governments, based on friendly ties. He stressed that all military action, including non-traditional tasks like disaster relief, should be supported by law.

"All kinds of military action need military law for support. For example, even local government requests to send one platoon of armed police to help with disaster relief should have approval from the Central Military Commission," he said.

The fourth plenum communiqué said the CMC had also decided to reinforce the independence and jurisdiction of the existing disciplinary mechanism.

"There are disciplinary inspection organisations in every military corps, but the anti-graft watchdogs are also subordinates of corps leaders," he said. "But I know the new reform will focus on giving more senior ranking and political power to the inspection team officers to allow them to check their superiors without worries."