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CPC ‘commands the gun’, says Xi as he asks Chinese military to expedite modernisation process

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On the eve of China’s Army Day, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday asserted that it is the ruling Communist Party that “commands the gun” and asked the military to make resolute efforts to become the world’s best army by 2027, on par with that of the US.

A key conclave of the Communist Party of China (CPC) headed by 68-year-old Xi last year finalised plans to build a fully modern military on par with that of the US by 2027.

By the year 2027, which marks the centennial of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), China will build a fully modern military on par with that of the US, a goal that is in alignment with the national strength and will fulfil the future national defence need, media reports said after the Plenary session of the CPC held in October last year.

Addressing a group study session of the CPC Political Bureau on Saturday, Xi — who heads the CPC and the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC), besides the prospects of lifelong tenure in power unlike his predecessors — called for resolute will and determination to work hard to achieve the goals set for the PLA centenary to be celebrated in 2027.

CMC is the overall high command of the Chinese military.

Reviewing the history of the CPC, which celebrated its centenary on July 1, Xi stressed that “the party commands the gun”, upholding the absolute leadership over armed forces, official media here reported.

According to the 14th Five-Year Plan which is being implemented from this year by the PLA’s 100th anniversary, the centennial goal of military development should be achieved.

Besides stressing for rapid modernisation of the military through heavy defence budgets, which this year amounted to USD 200 billion, and military exercises in real battle conditions to win wars, Xi has also been emphasising repeatedly, since he took over the leadership of the CPC in 2012, that the PLA must function under the party leadership.

His repeated emphasis has raised eyebrows as the PLA as per the constitutional structure of China functions under the party leadership and not under the government.

Xi shook the PLA, the world’s biggest military of two million personnel, by punishing over 50 top generals besides a host of mid-rung officials in the massive anti-corruption drive initiated by him since he came to power.

In his Saturday’s meeting, Xi extended regards to officers, soldiers and civilian personnel of the PLA and the People’s Armed Police Force, and members of the militia and the reserve service ahead of the 94th birthday of the PLA, which falls on August 1, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Xi noted that achieving the goals is a significant decision by the CPC and the CMC and a critical task concerning China’s national security and overall development.

On the historic course of fully building a modern socialist country and achieving the second centenary goal, greater importance should be attached to strengthening national defence and armed forces, Xi said.

Xi said the realisation of the goals is a profound reform vital for the overall construction of the whole army and called for transformation in the development philosophy to ensure high-quality development.

Underlining the necessity of adapting to the global trend of military development and meeting the requirements for strengthening the strategic capacity of the Chinese armed forces, Xi “demanded” efforts to push forward the reform of the national defence and armed forces, the Xinhua report said.

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