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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China parliament passes defence mobilisation bill

February 28, 2010

The Bangkok Post (Tailand)
February 27, 2010

China Friday passed its first-ever law on
deploying its military which allows troops to
take over businesses and other civilian resources
and provides for conscription in times of national emergency.

Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) recruits
undergo weapon training at a camp in Hefei, east
China's Anhui province in January 2010. China
Friday passed its first-ever law on deploying its
military which allows troops to take over
businesses and other civilian resources and
provides for conscription in times of national emergency.

While China's vast military machine has always
been under the direct command of the ruling
Communist Party rather than the government, the
new law leaves no room for any doubt, officials said.

The law would be useful in times of war and
during social unrest as occurred in the regions
of Tibet and Xinjiang in recent years, General
Bai Zixing told reporters, as well as when the
military is needed during natural disasters.

"Although our army is the party's army, it is
also the people's army," Bai said.

"This law brings together the will of the party
and the will of the state (to mobilise) the army
to safeguard state security and unity and safeguard social stability."

The bill was passed by the standing committee of
the National People's Congress, China's
parliament, ahead of the opening next week of the
annual meeting of the full legislature, congress
spokesman Han Ke told reporters.

According to the law, the standing committee will
declare military mobilisation at times of state
emergencies or security threats, following which
the president must issue a mobilisation order.

The law was passed at a time of major expansion
and modernisation of China's massive armed forces
which has raised concern overseas about Beijing's military intentions.

The law also stipulates subsidies and preferred
treatment to companies that manufacture products
for national defence and lays out regulations for
the military to expropriate civilian resources when mobilised.

Beijing has announced a series of double-digit
military budgets throughout most of the past two
decades and will announce its 2010 budget during the full congress in March.

The United States and some of China's regional
neighbours have expressed concern about the
build-up, which Beijing stresses is defensive in nature.
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