It appears that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been making a special effort recently to refute demands for military reform. Some experts say it may be related to the Tuidang movement—the movement to “quit,” or withdraw from, the CCP.
Here is a summary from Straits Times Indonesia:
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily ran a full page of articles recently to rouse the military and prepare its men for what it called a “war without gun smoke.”
The six articles, published on March 29, were intended to refute, among other things, three core demands made by advocates of political reform in the military.
The CCP has never bothered—until now—to refute the demands openly because of their highly sensitive nature. Devoting a full page in the PLA Daily for this purpose now is a rare move on its part.
Importantly, the article says that this implicitly suggests that theCCP is admitting that the Tuidang movement is having an effect on the military.
Caylan Ford is completing a Masters thesis on the Tuidang Movement at George Washington University’s school of International Affairs. She has analyzed hundreds of documents, from official Communist Party directives to “withdrawal statements” by Tuidang participants.
She told NTD that the upper echelons of the Party, including Hu Jintao, are increasingly concerned that the military is no longer “ideologically pure” and their allegiance is wavering.
There are concerns about defections within the security apparatus… A disproportionate number of statements seem to come from members the security agencies, be it the PLA (People’s Liberation Army), or the MSS (Ministry of State Security), or the Public Security Bureaus at the local levels, or police stations.
Part of the reason is because those people in particular are targeted by Tuidang activists more than other citizens, but also that their experiences tend to disillusion them [with the Party] in a way that is unique.
Ford is the author of a 2009 Christian Science Monitor editorial An underground challenge to China’s status quo, which goes into more depth on the Tuidang movement’s impact.
Li Ding, Deputy Editor-in-Chief for Chinascope, an online periodical that translates and analyzes articles from China’s state-run media and other official sources, explained to NTD the Tuidang movement’s impact on the military:
Starting in 2004, people in China started a kind of movement (the Tuidang movement)—an awakening from the rule of the Party. They started to realize the crimes the CCP has done to Chinese people. And so we have seen from overseas websites many Chinese people want to cut their ties from the Chinese Communist Party. And the CCP clearly senses that.
This kind of momentum is also happening inside the military. This really makes the CCP nervous. Especially after the Middle East crisis… the CCP feels a really strong sense of crisis, so they want to step up their control of the military.
So in recent years, we see the CCP’s military [publications] are running an array of articles… They claim that the army serves the Party; if the army is not following the leadership of the Party, then the army is going down the wrong ideological path.
There is more background in this March 2011 report by Chinascope, in particular the section called The Tightening Grip of the Military and the Police, starting on page 6.
Full Disclosure: In 2006, NTD produced and aired a documentary based on The Epoch Times newspaper’s editorial series Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party. Both the original editorial and NTD’s subsequent documentary may have had a direct impact on the spread of the Tuidang movement.