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Saturday, July 31, 2021

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Recent news updates about China are all indicative of the country’s efforts to make itself war-ready. 

This month, the Ministry of Veterans Affairs of China released a set of changes to the country’s draft regulations. The focus of these new amendments has been military veterans who now can re-join their original unit or can be placed somewhere else. 


According to the new regulations, the Central Military Commission or the State Council would be responsible for drafting soldiers and military personnel to government and other military agencies at diverse levels. The Central Military commission exercises the command and control of PLA, the People’s Armed Forces, and the Militia. Government authorities would help veterans in re-joining the units. 

The Draft/Conscription regulation is basically the compulsory enlistment of the citizens for any national service, especially the military. 
Conscription regulations were introduced in China in 1985, and the last revision was carried out in 2001. Military Service with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China is technically mandatory for all Chinese citizens. Still, in reality, obligatory military service has not yet been executed and enforced since 1949, as PLA always has been able to recruit sufficient numbers voluntarily. Conscription has not been required in practice, owing to China’s large population. The Chinese military has a large pool of candidates voluntarily available for recruitment. 

New draft regulations introduced by China disclose many key aspects, including creating an inter-ministerial system for conscription & attempts to regularize the procedure as part of the country’s digital government expansion. 

Another noticeable change in the conscription plans is the wartime enlistment in the military.  The local state media quoted a Chinese military expert, Song Zhongping, a former People’s Liberation Army instructor & reported that enlisting veterans in the military can rapidly increase & strengthen the army’s potential if China fights a war. 

But why is China preparing for a war-like situation? 

All these new updates are a resultant effect of centenary celebrations of the Chinese Communist Party where President Xi Jinping, in his hour-long speech, reiterated the party’s “unshakable commitment” to unify China

The release of the draft also comes against the backdrop of China making enemies with its neighbors in the West over issues such as human rights violations, persecution of ethnic minorities, and territorial disputes with nations. 

In January this year, Communist Party Leader President Xi Jinping, who heads the Central Military Commission, overstressed the need for “full-time combat readiness” and said the PLA must utilize battleground abrasions to upgrade soldiers’ abilities. As China faced some security challenges in March, President Jinping also told the Chinese military to be “prepared to respond” to any threatening & difficult situations. 

After the centenary celebrations, China’s state-owned media publications have disclosed details of a hypothetical ambush by China on Taiwan. As per the Naval and Merchant Ships article, China would carry out a three-stage plan to invade the island and topple the government in Taipei. 

Since last year China has been playing war games off the coast of the Taiwan island in what is widely seen as try-outs for an invasion. On June 15th, 2021, China flew a record of 28 warplanes in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, the largest foray in the last two years. The scale and frequency of Chinese activity are at an all-time high across the median line that unofficially separates Taiwan’s airspace from the mainland. 

It’s clear that the increasing flights are part of an effort by Beijing to escalate pressure on Taiwan, China, however, stands by its earlier words that such flights are routine. 

The G7 countries, in their latest meeting, specifically pointed out Taiwan to highlight how crucial peace and stability is in the Taiwan strait.

The United States has pledged unofficial ties with Taiwan despite being formal diplomatic allies, a red sore point for China. The US has also encouraged Beijing not to push around and intimidate Taiwan and develop a healthy dialogue. 

China is infamous for hostile territory takeovers. Many nations are worried about Beijing’s actions, and real fears of war are growing. 

• Jianli Yang is the founder and president of Citizen Power Initiatives for China and the author of For Us, the Living: A Journey to Shine the Light on Truth.


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