Central Military Commission
China’s National Defense organization
Controls the People’s Liberation Army, and shares control of the People’s Armed Police with the Ministry of Public Security
China’s national defense organization. There are in fact two Central Military Commissions; one State and one Party, with identical memberships.
Chair: Xi Jinping (since November 2012).
Vice Chairs: Generals Fan Changlong and Xu Qiliang, who are also 18th Politburo Members.
Members: Eight further Generals.
Prospects: Xi Jinping took over as Chair in 2012, despite rumours that Hu Jintao may try to stay until 2014 or longer. Recent reports suggest the military’s influence is rising, especially over China’s foreign policy.
Relevance to Tibet: PLA and PAP play an important role in maintaining “social stability” in Tibet. The CMC can influence national and foreign policy.
Background information on the Central Military Commission:
The Central Military Commission (CMC) is China’s most powerful military body, comprising the top 10 military chiefs, chaired by the Party’s civilian leader (Xi Jinping). The CMC is the chief conduit through which the military can influence China’s leadership and vice versa. The CMC’s two Vice Chairs have seats on the Politburo. Wikipedia says the CMC “issues directives relating to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), including senior appointments, troop deployments and arms spending.” The CMC shares authority over the People’s Armed Police (PAP) with the Ministry of Public Security.
In December 2014 there were sweeping changes affecting 40 senior military officials. The South China Morning Post wrote that whilst officially the changes were routine, a Chinese military observer had linked them to Xi Jinping’s corruption crackdown, and the expulsion from the Party of former CMC Vice Chair Xu Caihou. The changes also affected the leadership of the People’s Armed Police (now led by General Wang Ning). In July 2015 another former CMC Vice Chair, General Guo Boxiang, was expelled from the Party and handed over for court martial.
One day later, Xi Jinping promoted a further 10 military leaders to the rank of General. These included four that had Tibet experience.
In the run-up to the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the “Tibet Autonomous Region” (September 2015) two members of the Central Military Commission visited the TAR: Vice Chair General Zu Qiliang and General Zhang Yang.
In April 2013, according to the South China Morning Post, Xi Jinping ordered PLA generals and senior officers to serve as low ranking soldiers for at least two weeks, as a measure designed to “shake up the military and boost morale”.
According to Willy Lam the PLA is currently dominated by princelings (offspring of former leaders, a clique to which Xi Jinping also belongs) while Hu’s Communist Youth League clique is under-represented. Analysts STRATFOR, writing about the 2012 power handover: “The military’s influence over China’s politics and policies has grown over the past decade, as the country has striven to professionalize and modernize its forces and expand its capabilities in response to deepening international involvement and challenges to its internal stability. Fifth generation military leaders…will take office at a time when the military’s budget, stature and influence over politics is growing…, and sees its role as extending to becoming a guide for the country as it moves forward and up the ranks of international power.”
Hu Jintao with Military Leaders
Central Military Commission’s Contact Information:
- Website: http://eng.mod.gov.cn/
Printing this Page
For best results when printing this page, adjust your print settings by unchecking “print background colours” and “print background images”.