China's President Xi Jinping is set to roll out a new command structure that will solidify his control of the country's armed forces. In this photo, a picture of Xi seen behind soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army marching during a training session for a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War Two, at a military base in Beijing, China on Aug 22, 2015. Reuters/Damir Sagolj
Robert Foyle Hunwick, Foreign Policy: How Chinese Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Their Military Again
The PLA has emerged from the darkness of 1989 to reclaim the hearts of the masses.
BeIJING – Every evening, as regular and obstreperous as a rooster, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers sing from the barracks outside my Beijing home, a chorus of teenage troops reminding the neighborhood when it’s dinner time:
“Unity is strength, unity is strength,
The strength is iron, the strength is steel,
It’s harder than iron, stronger than steel.
Open fire at Fascism and Imperialism
And eliminate all undemocratic systems!”
The lyrics to “Unity is Strength” might sound a little unwieldy on paper, even a touch threatening. Yet the melody has an upbeat, rousing feel, especially when belted out with the full-throated enthusiasm of youngsters singing for their supper. Such is the order of army life — first you praise, then you eat. But their nightly routine is a reminder of the human reality behind the stentorian militarism that Beijing has been propagating over the South China Sea.
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WNU Editor: Recent corruption scandals have rocked the PLA .... but in comparison to 1989 when the Chinese Army was both feared and loathed after Tiananmen (and I was in China when this was happening) .... the Chinese public perception and acceptance of the military has changed radically. But it is a fine line .... until the failed coup in Turkey 3 weeks ago, the Turkish military was the most revered institution in Turkey .... no more now.