A law that has come into force allows Xi Jinping to mobilize military and civilian resources to defend national interests at home and abroad.
The law on national defense existed before, but at the end of 2020, amendments were made to it in parliament, weakening the influence of the government and transferring the prerogative of the PRC leader to declare an armed conflict. This amendment may seem like a nuance, since Xi has already concentrated enormous power in his hands. But analysts say it has received an additional tool to respond to the US challenge.
For the first time in the history of Communist China, the threat of a split and the protection of the interests of the country's development were called the basis for mobilizing and alerting the armed forces, the commentator of the South China Morning Post observed. The amendments to the law have been discussed for two years and were adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on December 26. Three articles were canceled, more than 50 were corrected, six additions were made.
The legislation emphasises the creation of a mechanism for coordinating the efforts of state-owned enterprises and private enterprises aimed at the development of defense technologies, which include conventional weapons, as well as the sphere of cyber security, space and electromagnetic warfare.
Several top Communist officials have expressed the view that the amendments are intended to strengthen the military leadership under Xi Jinping, giving him more room to respond appropriately to the confrontation with the United States. Deng Yuwen, former editor-in-chief of Study Times, a publication of the Chinese Communist Party, said the amendments are intended to formally adapt the “special” nature of China's political system to challenges that could harm the regime at home and abroad. In fact, this is the legalization of the principle formulated by Mao Zedong that says that the party is in command of the rifle.
Zhang Zhiping, a Party's specialist on military jurisprudence at the University of Suzhou, believes that the State Council (Cabinet of Ministers) is becoming a simple executive body supporting the military. Therefore the changes highlight the contrast with developed countries like Australia, France or Great Britain where the military is under the control of civilian leadership.
But in Taiwan, which is still not recognized by the United Nations, the legislation has raised concerns. Moreover, the New Year's call of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to start a meaningful dialogue with the PRC Beijing rejected and called a propaganda trick.
Mr. Chi Lei, a military expert in Taipei, said the amendments, which would allow the military to be used to prevent a split, targeted Taiwan, which is leaning towards independence. Chi added that the CCP, which came to power in 1949, had never called on the Chinese people to be ready to mobilize before.
It is clear that the Xi Jinping's regime is preparing to the major war. Last year Chinese Air-forces has intruded 380 times into into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. It was the highest frequency of such incidents since 1996, with the majority of them occurring in the zone’s southwest, the authors of the report published by the Institute for National Defense and Security Research have said. Chinese military conducted the highest number of long-distance training missions around Taiwan, the analysts said, citing just six and 20 missions in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The drills included series of ballistic missile tests in the waters around Taiwan in the run-up to the nation’s first direct presidential election. In addition to the preparation for a war in the region, with the incidents, Beijing is achieving three goals: testing Taiwan's military response capabilities, intimidate Taiwanese soldiers, and increase its sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific region.