Archive for November 29th, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Xi Jinping’s First Time: Promoting a General, Resisting Western Hopes, and (maybe) Heeding Hu’s Advice

What led me to the following speculation – and translation – is a post on a Sincere Soldier‘s (至诚大兵) People’s Daily blog, on the promotion of Wei Fenghe (魏凤和), by Xi Jinping, the CCP’s Central Military Commission. It was published on November 24 (Saturday).

I’m not quite sure what makes Wei Fenghe‘s promotion so unusual (if there is anything that does), but People’s Daily appeared to see a need to explain Wei’s  promotion from middle general (中将军) to senior general (上将军), not least in the light of other former middle generals who had had to wait longer for their promotion than Wei. To provide such explanation seems to be the job of Sincere Soldier, the “blogger” on the People’s Daily platform.

Some comment from other media (before we are getting back to Sincere Soldier):

Promoting senior military officers is one of the two most effective ways for a civilian party leader to consolidate his control over the world’s biggest fighting force. The other is increasing military spending to improve soldiers’ welfare,

the South China Morning Post (SCMP) explained, also last Saturday.

“The coming of Xi’s era is far earlier than expected by most of the outside world,” Lin said. “The authorisation of Wei’s promotion signifies the kicking off of his time in charge of the military, although the process is going as expected”, the SCMP quoted Taiwan’s former deputy defense minister Lin Chong-pin, within the same article on Saturday.

Another issue that Sincere Soldier addresses can be found in New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV’s) comment on Lei Fenghe’s promotion:

According to the constitution, the chairman of the Central Military Commission is the head of the National Central Military Commission and also the head of the national military. Xi Jinping has been recently promoted as the Chairman of the CCP’s Central Military Commission. However, Hu Jintao is still Chairman of the national Central Military Commission. Commentator Xia Xiaoqiang: “Hu Jintao hopes that Xi Jinping improves authority in the military by promoting an army general. This will help maintain the stability of the CCP regime in a whole. […] The CCP doesn’t care about whether or not it abides by the Constitution. In front of the law, the Party has the final say.”

“Sincere Soldier”, the People’s Daily blogger, seems to see an issue there, although – obviously – in a different light. Read for yourselves.

Links within the following blockquotes added during translation – JR.

Main Link: Sincere Soldier’s blogpost

According to China Military Online, the Central Military Commission (CMC) held a solemn ceremony for the promotion to a senior general’s rank at the 8-1 building in Beijing today. CMC chairman Xi Jinping promoted CMC member and Second Artillery Corps member Wei Fenghe to the rank of a senior general.

中新网11月23日电据中国军网记者频道报道,中央军委今天在北京八一大楼隆重举行晋升上将军衔仪式。中央军委主席习近平向晋升上将军衔的中央军委委员、第二炮兵司令员魏凤和同志颁发命令状。

This is the first time that Xi Jinping signed a promotion to a senior general’s rank after becoming CMC chairman, which led to particular interest among observers. What does this first signature reveal about the construction of our military? Please read my straightforward analysis as a sincere serviceman.

这是习近平担任中央军委主席后首次签署命令晋升上将,格外引人注目。习近平担任中央军委主席后首次签署命令晋升上将,究竟凸显了我军建设的那些重要信息呢?请看至诚大兵我的五点分析式揭秘:

(1) It shows that the People’s Liberation Army resolutely obeys Chairman Xi’s command. That Xi Jinping signs the first promotion to the rank of a senior general is intended to demonstrate, to insiders and outsiders, the People’s Liberation Army resolve to obey CMC chairman Xi’s commands. To listen to the party’s commands is the core and the spirit of the People’s Liberation Army’s good tradition. After Xi Jinping took the CMC chairmanship, the People’s Liberation Army, above all, needed to uphold the party’s absolute leadership of the armed forces, the forces’ political political qualification, its absolute loyalty and reliability, to resist [by this ceremony] the West’s hopes for a “nationalization of the military forces“.

一、表明解放军坚决听从中央军委习近平主席的指挥。习近平担任中央军委主席后首次签署命令晋升上将,意在向军内外展示解放军坚决听从中央军委习主席指挥的决心。听党的指挥,是解放军优良传统的核心和精髓。习近平担任军委主席之后,解放军最首要的就是保持党对军队的绝对领导,政治合格,绝对忠诚可靠,用行动抵制西方希望的“军队国家化”。

Hu Jintao, not so Mursi – for copyright reasions, I’m not including a  photo here, but it can be found there.

(2) It shows once more the nobility and sterling integrity of Hu Jintao’s withdrawal. Hu Jintao considered the overall development and on his own initiative relinquished his service as CMC chairman. The way Hu Jintao, on the extended meeting of the CMC, introduced Xi Jinping as a man who was qualified to chair the CMC reflected the high degree to which the handover was made on a foundation of trust. However, Hu Jintao remains in charge of the People’s Republic of China’s Central Military Commission*), and to step down from this service will require confirmation from next year’s National People’s Congress (NPC). The way in which the new CMC chairman Xi Jinping signed and announced the promotion by writ once again reflected Hu Jintao’s nobility and sterling integrity and his great trust in Xi Jinping, the profoundness of his mind, which avoided the possibility of a “crash” from the promotion.

二、表明胡锦涛全退高风亮节的新延续。胡锦涛从事业发展全局考虑,主动提出不再担任中央军委主席职务。胡锦涛在军委扩大会议上,向与会人员介绍习近平是合格的中央军委主席,体现了两位军委主席的移交是建立在高度信赖的基础之上。然而,胡锦涛仍然担负着中华人民共和国军委主席的职务,这个职务的卸却需要明年全国人大的确认。此时晋升上将军衔,由新任军委主席习近平签署和颁发命令状,再次体现了胡锦涛主席的高风亮节和对习近平的高度信赖,其博大胸怀避免了可能的晋升上将“撞车”。

(3) The solemnity of the occasion showed a great emphasis on the Second Artillery Corps’ importance. […]

三、特殊隆重表明对二炮部队重要性的高度重视。[今年7月30日的建军节前,中央军委才举行过晋升上将军衔仪式,一年内这样简短时间间隔内,再次举行晋升上将军衔仪式,这是我军1988年恢复军衔制以来的首次,这次晋升魏凤和上将军衔非常特殊与隆重。这个特殊性凸显了以习近平为主席的中央军委对解放军二炮部队重要性的高度重视,体现了二炮在未来的对敌斗争及至军事作战行动中均可替代的重要作用,也体现了中央军委对二炮广大官兵的期待与关怀。]

(4) It shows that Chairman Xi Jinping grasps the construction of the armed forces in accordance with the army regulations. […]

四、表明习近平主席按照军队条例条令抓部队建设。[按照解放军《军官军衔条例》的规定,中央军委副主席、中央军委委员、总参谋长、总政治部主任的职务编制军衔为(陆军)上将,正大军区职的职务编制为上将或中将。虽魏凤中将军衔仅只4年,然而习近平主席签署命令并现场颁发命令状,晋升魏凤和为上将,表明军队建设与国防建设的正规化,必须从制度建设着手,军委主席照样要按照《军官军衔条例》等军队条例条令的规定抓部队建设。]

Wei Fenghe’s promotion to senior general’s rank will be conducive to our military troops’ organizational command and to related activities. An army officer’s promotion to senior general’s rank is a very solemn and serious event. If we go by Ma Xiaotian and Liu Yuan as examples, they both held ranks as middle generals for nine years. [ Unsafe translation: Based on the records of service, there are above-board military-region middle generals with longer terms as middle generals than Wei Fenghe to be chosen. However, Chairman Xi Jinping signed the order and announced Wei Fenghe’s promotion in the same place also lets Wei exercise complementary tasks as CMC member and the command of the Second Artillery Corps.] Wei Fenghe’s promotion will be conducive to the Second Artillery Corps’ organizational command and to related activities. Wei Fenghe’s duties and positions, besides commanding the Second Artillery Corps, will – depending on the situation – require the command of the Corps, corresponding public activities and foreign activities, and Wei Fenghe’s promotion is conducive to the troops’ organizational command and to the related activities.

五、魏凤和晋升上将有利于我军部队组织指挥和相关活动。军官晋升上将军衔,是非常隆重与严肃的大事。以目前的马晓天、刘源上将为例,他俩都分别在中将位置上停留了9年时间。如果论资历,显然目前比魏凤和中将任职时间长的正大军区职人选还有。然而习近平主席签署命令并现场颁发命令状,晋升魏凤和为上将,还有让魏凤和军衔与其军委委员和二炮司令员职务相匹配的考虑。魏凤和晋升上将有利于二炮部队组织指挥和相关活动。魏凤和的职务与职位,除了指挥二炮部队外,必要时需要指挥二炮外的全军部队,而且还将担负相应的公务活动以及外事活动,魏凤和晋升上将有利于部队组织指挥和相关活动。

The “People’s Liberation Army” would be under the CCP’s command either way, but the Communist Party’s immediate command (shortcutting state supervision and command) doesn’t go without saying. The above People’s Daily blogpost, by suggesting that PLA nationalization would only fulfill “Western” hopes, blanketly counts Chinese proponents of such nationalization into a “Western” camp.

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Note

*) Uaually, both the party’s and the state CMC’s are identical in membership.

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