Post Magazine

China targets military training in renewed combat readiness mission

China's peak military body will deploy inspectors and set up a new oversight system to strengthen military training and the combat readiness of the People's Liberation Army.

"The regulation formulates measures to rectify practices that are inconsistent with the requirements of actual combat. It also details the criteria for identifying malpractices and discipline violations during military training," the report said.

"The regulation also clearly states the responsibilities, power and priorities of military training supervision and standardises the methods and procedures for carrying out such work."

It comes amid US warnings that China has become a major security threat, with increased spending on advanced weaponry, technology and cyberwarfare.

However, military specialists agree that despite these advances, the PLA has lagged in its training and readiness.

The officer said that under the new regulation, the PLA would establish proper systems and assign inspectors to monitor and supervise officers responsible for training and hold them accountable for failures and derelictions of duty.

In particular, the regulation was meant to correct "peacetime malpractices" " apparently referring to the PLA's lack of combat readiness compared with other modern fighting forces.

Xi, who has accelerated the modernisation of the PLA since 2015, delivered the same message in a major speech early this year in which he urged the rank and file to improve training and strengthen readiness.

The PLA's deficiencies were highlighted last week when Dennis Blasko, a former lieutenant colonel of the US Army, testified before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission on the PLA's ability to exert its influence abroad.

Blasko said the PLA was aware that its lack of recent combat experience had led to "peace disease" and it was affecting China's power to use force for external challenges.

The Chinese military has not been involved in major combat since the country's border conflicts with Vietnam starting in 1979.

"Rectifying this [peace] attitude is a leadership challenge at all levels and is an important reason behind Xi's emphasis on raising combat readiness," Blasko said.

He also suggested that the PLA would focus on experimentation and troubleshooting in the coming decade to help catch up with other advanced forces.

"Based on their own timeline, the PLA leadership would prefer to continue experimentation and systems troubleshooting until 2035 when modernisation is scheduled to be completed. It will then use the following decade to perfect its skills to become a world-class military," Blasko said in his testimony.

Zeng Zhiping, a military law expert at the Nanchang Institute of Technology in Jiangxi province, said inspection groups had checked up on the PLA's training from time to time over the past few years, and the latest regulation was a step forward to formalise the process.

"An inspection system by definition is a check and balance from the outside, a division of power," Zeng said.

He said this suggested the CMC felt the military's existing structure had not worked well in terms of training and needed to be supplemented by extra monitoring.

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

More from Post Magazine

Post Magazine9 min readSociety
'You Chinese Virus Spreader': After Coronavirus, Australia Has An Anti-Asian Racism Outbreak To Deal With
The pair had been waiting to cross Petersham Road in the suburb of Marrickville when two white Australian teenagers launched into an unprovoked attack, calling them "Asian whores", "Asian dogs" and "Asian sluts". One threatened the sisters with a kni
Post Magazine5 min readPolitics
Coronavirus: Washington Governor Jay Inslee Personally Appealed To Xi Jinping For PPE, On Advice Of Chinese-American Entrepreneur
A US state with close ties to Chinese President Xi Jinping's alma mater directly petitioned the Chinese leader for protective clothing for its medical workers battling the coronavirus last month, leading to it receiving supplies from Sichuan province
Post Magazine2 min read
Hong Kong's Festival Walk Mall Hit By Indoor Downpour As Water Streams From Fire Sprinklers On Upper Floors
Waterfall-like torrents poured down inside Hong Kong's glitzy Festival Walk shopping centre on Saturday night, sparking the evacuation of customers and closure of stores. The freak, indoor downpour resembled one more than six years ago when rainwater