No, Xi isn’t tired, he’s just wearing fatigues. And he’s the first Chinese Communist Party leader to do so. So why the hot new style? Well, Xi just gave himself a promotion. According to state-run media, he’s now the commander in chief of the military’s Joint Operations Command Center. Why?
According to Party Mouthpiece Xinhua, Xi said, “The current situation requires battle command to be highly strategic, coordinated, timely, professional and accurate”— as well as suave, sophisticated, and exuding the rich smell of mahogany.
So until Xi Jinping came to power, the People’s Liberation Army never had a joint command. Joint command is where the different branches of the military—air force, army, and navy—can work together and know what the others are doing. Kind of important, right? That’s why pretty much every modern military has one.
But in China, the problem has been that that whoever’s charge of the joint command would also have tremendous political power. And since your typical Party leader is pretty much in a constant battle to get some edge over all the other jerks that never happened.
Well, now Xi’s got an edge over the other jerks. Even though when Xi was elected—sorry—won the presidential power struggle, he also became head of the Central Military Commission, this latest move suggests that Xi feels he needs to solidify his control over the military even further.
Xi has been in a constant battle with other Party members tied to former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin. Xi’s anti-corruption campaign is really just a way to purge the most powerful members of Jiang’s clique.
And the military has been no different. China’s Central Military Commission was once stacked with Jiang Zemin’s people. Jiang had appointed a total of 79 generals in his time. That’s why, since 2012, Xi Jinping has been purging and reforming the military with one clear purpose—to give himself more direct control.
And to ensure that he’s the brains of the operation, top leaders now have to report directly to him via video link, and he’s increased military spending tremendously, last year reaching 130 billion dollars.
According to China Daily, Xi’s new position as head of the Joint Operations Command Center will “hone their ability for “informationized warfare.” “Informationized warfare”? Xi may not be a professional soldier, but he’s clearly a professional…word creator guy.
But I think this is the real message he wants to give, “he said the armed forces should be ‘absolutely loyal.‘”
Because clearly, not everyone is loyal enough. So what will Xi do with his new power? Leave your cynical comments below.