As part of a campaign to mark the Communist Party’s 100th anniversary this year, soldiers in the Chinese military will be taught about loyalty to the party and its leader, President Xi Jinping. Xi Jinping is increasingly cracking down on officials who are corrupt or deemed ‘insufficiently loyal’ to the party and its leader. Jinping is coming down hard and fast on the dissenters. After ridding Jack Ma of his influence majorly due to his close ties with Jiang Zemin and CCP’s rebellious Shanghai faction, Jinping is consolidating control and these loyalty lessons are a major cog to keep the allegiance. Xi feels threatened that his power might be waning thus sufficient loyalty not just towards the CCP but towards Xi himself is the need of the hour.
The party never misses an opportunity to commemorate a significant anniversary, reminding citizens of China’s past and the central role the party plays in the country’s existence, for which they should be thankful.
Since taking over as party leader in late 2012, Xi has gone after his opponents in the name of fighting corruption, and he has strongly promoted the idea that “the party leads all,” expanding his influence into all aspects of life, economy, and government. The People’s Liberation Army has been at the forefront of these efforts, and Xi has lavished it with modern arms such as stealth fighters in order to assuage any questions about its allegiance.
The military must “resolutely listen to Chairman Xi’s command, be accountable to Chairman Xi, let Chairman Xi rest assured,” Major General Li Jun told a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday, kicking off anniversary celebrations. Every soldier will be educated about the history of the party, so that they can be “loyal to the core, uphold the core, follow the core. The education is aimed at making soldiers appreciate the glorious truth about Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics”, and to “firmly establish Xi Jinping’s Thought on Strengthening the Military as the guiding force,” Li added
The loyalty lessons are important in themselves for Jinping. Back in January Jinping’s paranoia of a coup hit new heights as he cracked down on PLA’s Western Theatre Command as he feared an armed mutiny. He had stopped promotions and was questioning the loyalty of the PLA’s Western Theatre Command (WTC) as anger and distrust grew between the two parties.
It was believed that retired army officers and those in active service were hurt by the treatment received from the government and they could form a formidable force to challenge Xi’s leadership.
The Galwan Valley clash between Indian troops and Chinese troops was a major disaster for Xi. Jinping’s Himalayan blunder got far too many PLA troops slaughtered in the Galwan Valley area. Within China, the PLA casualty figures were not released, nor were the dead given any military honours/memorial service. This has driven the PLA further away from the CCP.
There are other issues involved with PLA too. The veterans are deprived of pensions, jobs and other benefits. Mysterious deaths of PLA veterans protesting against such issues is said to be a regular feature in China.
Loyalty lessons for the PLA are a major part of Xi’s attempt to keep control of the party. On February 27, the Communist Party announced the launch of a long-awaited purge of its ranks. It will entail “turning the knife-blade inward” to gouge out anyone considered corrupt or insufficiently loyal to the party and its leader, Xi Jinping. After more than eight years of Xi’s dictatorial rule, the party appears to be questioning whether a key pillar of its power is fully trustworthy.
Xi’s purge of the security forces was not just aimed at those who do not adhere to party lines. He has been cracking down on dissenters and opposition especially those who were becoming too big for the party, cue Jack Ma.
Alibaba Chief Jack Ma owes his success in totality to former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who, under the ‘Three Represents’ principle allowed the private sector to hop on the driving seat and play a crucial role in the rise of China. It was under Zemin’s rule that Jack Ma made it to the Chinese Communist Party ranks, a development whose mere thought before Jiang Zemin’s presidentship would have been considered sacrilegious.
Since Jack Ma’s infamous speech criticising the CCP’s grip on the market, Xi Jinping has brought the hammer down on him and the Ant Group. The ordeal led to Jack Ma’s disappearance and ultimately a big chunk of his wealth dissolved into thin air and he no longer remains the richest man in China.
Moreover, Xi’s crackdown on China’s tech sector has also been a major point of contention between the PLA and the CCP. Top brass of the PLA enjoy a lot of influence over companies such as Alibaba and Tencent. But Xi’s decision to crackdown over these corporations would not have gown down well with PLA’s top brass.
Xi Jinping is consolidating power. His feud with Jack Ma, the massive purge and now the PLA being given Loyalty lessons underline that Xi is threatened and that he might lose control of the CCP chairmanship and thus needs to quell any opposition.
Jinping has been putting down a simmering rebellion within the CCP, led by Jiang Zemin and his family. Jack Ma’s downfall was precipitated by his proximity to Jiang’s family and his notorious outburst against the CCP.
The loyalty lessons will instil the thought of Jinping’s rule with an iron fist in the PLA. Any failure to show loyalty will result in disciplinary action and dissenters will be charged under Chinese law. With Jinping’s Mao-era programs to consolidate power, the Chinese President aims to quell opposition and dissent and most importantly manufacture loyalty in what is supposed to be the most important faction of CCP’s rule in China.
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