Outgoing President of China Hu Jintao plans to also transfer leadership of the military this week. At the conclusion of the 18th National Party Congress concludes on Wednesday, Xi Jinping will assume command of the Communist Party, the Presidency and the People’s Liberation Army.
The immediate transfer of all powers is a return to tradition in China. Under transition plans developed by former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, all command was to be placed under new leadership at once. But Jiang Zemin changed that by retaining command of the army when he transferred power to Hu Jintao in 2002. This was widely criticised at the time.
Perhaps because of his own experiences at the time, Hu Jintao decided to make a clean break.
The People’s Liberation Army has some 3 million members and is the largest armed force on earth. The PLA was founded in 1927 as a guerilla force and fought the Japanese wartime invaders and the Kuomingtan. It’s 3 million members have all living expenses covered, and receive a salary of RMB4,000 per year (US$640 per year). Learn more here.
“Without the people, there is no people’s army. Without the people’s army, the people have nothing.” PLA slogan