China’s military reserve forces will be formally placed under the centralised and unified command of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Central Military Commission (CMC), both headed by President Xi Jinping, from July 1 to ensure the ruling party’s “absolute leadership” over it and build a world-class army, according to a report.
At present, the reserve forces are under the dual leadership of military sectors and local Communist Party committees and they would be brought under the control of the ruling party and the CMC from July 1, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in 2017 announced plans to reduce the strength of the reserve forces and bring them under the control of the central leadership as part of the reforms of the military.
The reforms included cutting down the size of the military by three lakh troops reducing the size of the PLA, the world’s largest military force, to two million personnel.
An official announcement on Sunday said the reserve forces are “an important part of the PLA and the adjustment in the leadership structure is aimed at upholding the CPC’s absolute leadership over the army and building a strong military in the new era.”
It calls on relevant military and civilian units to take active and coordinated measures to implement the changes to the leadership structure.
Since he took over power in 2013, Xi Jinping, 67, has ordered all PLA ranks to strictly work under the CPC leadership. He is also the General Secretary of the CPC.
China watchers have called Xi Jinping the most powerful Chinese leader since Chairman Mao Zedong, especially since he managed to amend the Constitution to end the two-term presidential limit in 2018.
According to the reforms process announced in 2017, the CMC will take charge of the overall administration of the PLA, the Chinese People’s Armed Police and the militia and reserve forces. This meant that all forces would work directly under central leadership headed by the President.
The thrust of the reforms included a reduction of the ground forces and an increase in the role and scope of the Navy and the Air Force as part of China’s push to expand its global influence.
The structure of the reserve forces will adapt to information warfare from traditional combat-oriented and mechanised ones, the PLA announced in 2017.