12 October 2017
What has stood out in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first five years of rule is the People’s Liberation Army (PLA’s) bold and radical reforms.
“By dividing them into smaller organs and making them report directly to Mr Xi, it’s a way for him to exert direct control over the PLA,” said S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies‘ China expert Hoo Tiang Boon.
Announcements were made in 2013 and July this year to cut troop sizes, while the navy’s numbers are being boosted, in line with a 2015 Defence White Paper which stated that “the traditional mentality that land outweighs sea must be abandoned”.
Reforms in the next few years will likely focus on institutionalising these changes down the rank and file, even as China moves to project military power farther afield as its overseas interests grow, said Dr Hoo. “The broad, structural changes have been made, so now it’s a matter of slowly going down the levels and getting key personnel in there to implement these changes,” he said.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 13/10/2017