Sat, Dec 28, 2013 - Page 9 News List

Rising China’s pride and challenge: its mighty army

By David Lague and Charlie Zhu  /  Reuters, Beijing and HONG KONG

In an online discussion on the People’s Daily Web site on Aug. 1, the military confirmed Gu was under investigation.

Liu Yuan may have paid a price for his zeal.

“He was passed over for promotion because of this, and also because he was too close to Bo Xilai,” said a person with ties to the leadership who is familiar with the anti-corruption drive.

‘SILENT CONTEST’

General Liu Yazhou, also 61, is the son-in-law of Li Xiannian (李先念), who became president in the Deng era.

Liu Yazhou, too, is a political officer rather than a military professional. One of the most outspoken senior officers, Liu became well known as a writer of fiction early in his career. He later turned to politics and strategy, writing frequently about the decisive role that air power plays in modern warfare.

For a time, he was widely regarded as one of the most liberal PLA officers. He once dared to suggest that China needed a democratic political system to stamp out corruption and provide an environment where the best talent could get to the top.

China routinely persecutes dissidents for airing similar views. His articles indicate he is an avid analyst of the US military and the Pentagon’s strategic thinking.

However, more recently, Liu has written about the party’s “absolute leadership” over the PLA. He also appears to have hardened his views on the US.

In his current posting as political commissar of the National Defense University in Beijing, Liu this year co-produced a documentary film, Silent Contest.

The documentary, thought to have been prepared for an internal military audience, appeared on Chinese Web sites for a couple of days in late October before being removed. The film warned of a US “soft war” against China aimed at toppling the party.

“They confidently believe it would be easier to divide or split China by approaching and engaging China and integrating it into the US-led international political system,” Liu said in the film.

The documentary includes similar warnings from other uniformed senior officers. To clinch the message, General Liu rolls out his heaviest weapon: the commander-in-chief of the PLA and leader of the CCP.

“Western countries’ strategic goal of containing China will never change,” Xi Jinping said. “They absolutely don’t aspire to see a big socialist country like us achieve peaceful development.”

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