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HomeAsiaChina's Military Emphasizes Discipline in 2024 - The Diplomat报道

China’s Military Emphasizes Discipline in 2024 – The Diplomat报道

On January 6, an article in Bloomberg made sensational claims about China’s nuclear force. Per U.S. intelligence, the article said that China’s recent removals of several high-ranking military figures, including People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force Commander Li Yuchao, Political Commissar Xu Zhongbo, and Defense Minister Li Shangfu, happened after the discovery of significant problems with the country’s nuclear arsenal. Specifically, it claimed, many of the missile silos in western China had non-functioning lids, and some missiles were “filled with water instead of fuel.”

Some were quick to raise questions around that intelligence. China’s one liquid-fueled nuclear missile, the DF-5, is not kept fueled because the fuel is highly corrosive. The claim of dramatic holes in China’s nuclear arsenal contradicts other U.S. assessments of Chinese nuclear capabilities and military developments.

However, Bloomberg’s was not the only explanation of the high-ranking removals. Some analysts argued that the goal of the moves was to strengthen China’s nuclear triad of sea-based, air-based, and land-based delivery systems; the new commander and commissar come from the PLA Navy and Air Force, respectively. Others have argued that it suggests a crisis of confidence on the part of President Xi Jinping, and that he is prioritizing officials with personal loyalty above all else.

Questionably water-logged missiles aside, corruption and high-level upheaval defined 2023 for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). So far, articles in the army’s newspaper and internal directives published in early January suggest that discipline will define 2024. This merits a closer look at the PLA’s disciplinary practices.

The high-level removals and renewed focus on discipline at lower levels are different tiers of the same disciplinary regime. Removing top officials while strengthening education and discipline among the rank-and-file shows that Chinese leadership recognizes that corruption remains a major issue in the PLA, and that it cannot be solved by targeting individuals alone. Instead, Beijing is taking a holistic, long-term approach to improving discipline in the army from the bottom up as part of its military modernization goals.

Combating corruption may be the central feature of Xi’s tenure so far, and the PLA has been one of his main, and most difficult, targets. Article source – source

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