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China calls for "absolute obedience" from military

February 3, 2009

Mon Feb 2, 2009 9:05am IST

BEIJING (Reuters) - China, wary of growing unrest and facing "multiple
security threats", called for unity in its armed forces on Sunday and
absolute obedience to the Communist Party.

The call came at a Central Military Commission meeting presided over by
President and commission chairman Hu Jintao just weeks after the
Communist-ruled country warned of the risk of separatist groups at home.

It also comes in a year of sensitive anniversaries, including the 20th
of the brutal June 4, 1989, crackdown on pro-democracy protests in
Beijing and the 50th of the Dalai Lama's flight into exile after an
abortive uprising against Chinese rule of Tibet.

The biggest risks to China's stability will come from a surge of
graduating university students, facing a shrinking job market and
diminished incomes, and from a tide of migrant labourers who have lost
their jobs as export-driven factories have closed.

All military forces should ensure that they "uncompromisingly obey the
Party and Central Military Commission's command at any time and under
any circumstances", the commission said in a statement issued on Sunday
and reported by Xinhua news agency.

"The statement said China's national defence and military building had
encountered complicated changes in the international and domestic
environment" since 2004, when Hu succeeded Jiang Zemin in the top
military post, Xinhua said.

Despite achievements that the forces had made, the commission warned of
"slack management" in some ranks.

China's planned allocation for the People's Liberation Army in 2008 was
417.77 billion yuan ($61.09 billion), up 17.6 percent on 2007. But
international experts estimate true defence spending could be as much as
triple the stated figure.

China's rising spending on arms and military modernisation has been
criticised by countries including the United States and Japan for its
opaqueness. Beijing says its defence budget is purely for defensive
purposes and is quite open.

Describing China's general security as "improving", the white paper
wasted little time denouncing those seeking independence for Taiwan, a
self-ruled island China claims as its own, Tibet and the restive,
energy-rich western region of Xinjiang, which "pose threats to China's
unity and security".
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