Is China Scared of a Coup?
Since the controversy surrounding the ouster of Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai in March, China has appeared to be teetering on the edge of reform—or of chaos. While Premier Wen Jiabao’s calls for urgent reform turned into official press notices to “assault the castle of reform,” the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) set firm limits on what such reform could accomplish, especially as foreign hostile forces might try to take advantage of any political instability. The latest issue of the Central Party School journal, Red Flag, mentioned “structural political reform” for the CCP to adapt to the changing nature of Chinese society, at least acknowledging high-level dissatisfaction with the political status quo. Such reform, however modest it appears to outsiders, could be divisive and China’s leaders may be trying to shore up the military’s loyalty lest leadership splits lead to social disorder.
The Chinese official and military press has sounded a relentless drumbeat since the beginning of the year about the dangers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) succumbing to “depoliticizing the military, separating the [Chinese Communist Party] from the military, and nationalizing the military.” This drumbeat has lasted far longer than might be expected if it were only about the ideological conditioning of new conscripts who joined their units early this year—or even if it was related to the ousted Bo Xilai’s links to the PLA.
The selections below highlight just a few of the official Chinese press articles drawing attention to the dangers of a disloyal PLA and the need for military officers to close ranks around the CCP: