China military still under Communist Party control

April 1, 2009 at 11:04 a.m.
Updated March 31, 2009 at 11:01 p.m.

BEIJING (AP) — China's military, the world's largest, must continue taking orders exclusively from the Communist Party, a top Chinese general said Wednesday, dismissing calls for a transfer to government control as "wrong thinking."

The remarks by Gen. Li Jinai mirror comments last month by the party's No. 2 rejecting calls for reform of the Soviet-style political system in the face of vast changes to China's economy and society since it abandoned orthodox Marxism three decades ago.

China's communist leaders exercise strict control over the 2.3 million-member People's Liberation Army, designating its primary mission as ensuring the party's continued rule.

In an essay published in the party's official theoretical journal, Qiushi, Li acknowledged calls to end that control and demanded the armed forces maintain their insistence on the party's command.

"Unshakingly uphold the basic principle and system of the party's absolute leadership over the army," wrote Li, the PLA's top political commissar who sits on the 11-member party committee headed by president and party leader Hu Jintao that exercises direct control over the military.

"Resolutely oppose the wrong thinking of 'army-party separation, depoliticization, and army nationalization,'" the essay continued.

"At all times, make the party flag the army's flag and ... in all things listen to the commands of the party, Central Military Commission and President Hu," it said.



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