BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s military will begin a massive loyalty campaign to the Communist Party and its leader President Xi Jinping for the party’s 100 birthday this year, and while it will celebrate the armed forces’ Hong Kong garrison there will be no mass parade.
The party never misses an opportunity to mark a key anniversary, to remind people of China’s history and central role played by the party in the country’s life, and that they should be grateful.
Since Xi took over as party chief in late 2012 he has taken out enemies in the name of fighting corruption and firmly pushed the notion that the “the party leads everything”, extending its controls into all walks of life, business and government.
The People’s Liberation Army has been at the centre of those efforts, and Xi has showered it with fancy new equipment like stealth fighters, while seeking to dispel any doubts over its loyalty.
The military must “resolutely listen to Chairman Xi’s command, be accountable to Chairman Xi, let Chairman Xi rest assured,” Major General Li Jun told a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday, kicking off anniversary celebrations.
Every soldier will be educated about the history of the party, so that they can be “loyal to the core, uphold the core, follow the core”, he said, referring to the party leadership helmed by Xi.
The education is aimed at making soldiers “appreciate the glorious truth about Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics”, and to “firmly establish Xi Jinping’s Thought on Strengthening the Military as the guiding force,” Li added.
As birthday presents to the party, the military will open a new Naval Museum and an exhibition centre about the PLA garrison in Hong Kong, where there have been large-scale anti-government protests over the past two years.
There will however not be a military parade, Li said.
Xi will speak at a mega celebration expected to take place on July 1, when the party officially turns 100.
(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)