China Media Project comments on a recent People’s Daily editorial, “The Party Commands the Gun, A Fundamental Guarantee of Moving From Victory to Victory,” and ponders it’s possible meaning:
The piece covers a lot of territory, from the Nanchang Uprising of August 1, 1927, which marked the start of China’s civil war and the organization of the Red Army (later the PLA), to the Long March, and up to the present day and the PLA’s role, for example, in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. But the basic message of the piece is unmistakable: the Chinese Communist Party controls China’s military, and this is a fact that will never be compromised.
There are a couple of possible meanings, or readings, that can be gleaned from the People’s Daily piece as we approach the 90th anniversary of the CCP:
1. The Party is flaunting is military strength before the people, saying, essentially, “Look, the weapons are in our hands.” We will preserve stability, and we have the means.
2. Top Party leaders are sending a warning to military brass — we are your masters and you had better listen.
We won’t speculate any further as to the background of meaning number 2, but the reasons for 1 are clear enough, given successive incidents of violent social unrest in China, such as riots in Zengcheng earlier this month.
For a related article about recent People’s Daily coverage, see “Split personality: the two faces of the People’s Daily” from China Elections and Governance.