23 April 2013

Undercover Boss: Chinese Military Edition

Total PR stunt, right? Sure. But who is it really designed to benefit?

Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered his top brass to spend two weeks as junior soldiers every few years as a way of boosting military morale - but skeptics doubt the move will do much more than polish his own credentials as commander in chief.
Under the directive, published by the defense ministry, the temporary and symbolic demotion applies to lieutenant colonels and above - although it is primarily aimed at senior officers aged under 55 or who have not come up through the lower ranks.
"It will help to purify the soul and be the prevention and cure for laziness, lax discipline, extravagance and other bureaucratic illnesses," the official People's Liberation Army Daily said of the measure in a commentary on Tuesday.
The move recalled a similar one made by former paramount leader Mao Zedong in 1958, the newspaper added.
Some political analysts said the gesture was likely part of Xi's public campaign to be seen as tough on privilege and corruption, given that media reports of graft in the military are on the rise again after a 1990s crackdown.

Is this all about the President, or the military, or is someone in China finally waking up to the PR value of shared burdens from the leadership?

By: Brant

1 comment:

Brian said...

No, as the article said this is something in the People's Liberation Army that goes back to early Mao days - the intention was for senior officers not to get too uppity or forget where their reputations came from: their men. The early generals of the PLA mostly had pretty modest beginnings, but Mao was always watchful of the Army becoming too professional in its outlook (by which I mean, it becoming too much of a power base by itself).

"Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party."