Communist Party chief Xi Jinping paid his first visit to the People's Armed Police yesterday, highlighting the importance of the force's loyalty to the party and its mission of safeguarding state security and maintaining social stability, state media reported.
Clad in an olive-green Mao suit in his capacity as chairman of the party's Central Military Commission (CMC), Xi braved freezing weather for an outdoor review of police from the 13th branch of the People's Armed Police's Beijing Corps in the morning, China Central Television reported in its evening news bulletin.
Xi met hundreds of senior armed police officers at the force's headquarters in the afternoon, the report said.
"The weather is rather cold, please take extra care to keep warm," Xi told an armed policeman standing at attention beside the flagpole in Tiananmen Square, using a communication device in a control room.
Xi's first inspection of the PAP since assuming the top military job in November came less than a fortnight before the Lunar New Year, which begins February 10.
In the speech during a meeting with the force's senior leaders, Xi stressed that as an armed force under the absolute leadership of the party, the PAP's allegiance to the party was its overriding political priority, the report said.
Xi added that the force should raise its combat ability and excel in terms of quality and reliability.
Xi was accompanied by CMC vice-chairmen General Fan Changlong and General Xu Qiliang , security tsar Meng Jianzhu and Beijing party chief Guo Jinlong during the inspection.
The 800,000-strong PAP has played a key role in putting down thousands of civilian protests over the past few years amid nationwide discontent, largely prompted by the seizure of farmland or homes.