China dreams of owning military-industrial complex under Xi's leadership
Research by the Asia Society Policy Institute's Centre for China Analysis in March reveals that autocrats' ascent provides essential clues to the leadership qualities and policy priorities that paramount leader Xi Jinping has uppermost in mind.
The West is watching the growth in China of a new breed of autocrats under Xi Jinping's leadership, military-industrial technocrats with indeed the theoretical ability to match a similar but globally influential complex the United States has, Directus reported. Research by the Asia Society Policy Institute's Centre for China Analysis in March reveals that autocrats' ascent provides essential clues to the leadership qualities and policy priorities that paramount leader Xi Jinping has uppermost in mind.
Directus is a Greek News and Media website reporting on issues related to Greece. It also provides geopolitical analyzes and commentary on the national issues of Greece. Were such a technocrat group to really exist, it would have major military implications for Chinese economic development and militarization of the PLA in the next decade. That will have its own consequences on China's growing rivalry with the US, Directus reported.
Hints of Xi's search for a group of military and industrial specialists sprung up around the time of the 20th Party Congress last October as Xi was preparing for a third term in power. At the Congress, Xi said that the party's military wing, the People's Liberation Army, needs to "safeguard China's dignity and core interests."
He was referring to a list of territorial claims and other issues over which Beijing says it is ready to go to war. It was clear that China, with the world's second-largest military budget after the United States, is trying to extend its reach by developing ballistic missiles, aircraft carriers and overseas outposts, Directus reported. And Xi laid bare his ambition, "We will work faster to modernize military theory, personnel and weapons. We will enhance the military's strategic capabilities."
At the conclusion of the Congress, 13 new members joined the 24-man Politburo, the Communist Party's top leadership body. Among them are five rising stars, Zhang Guoqing, Yuan Jiajun, Li Ganjie, Ma Xingrui and Liu Guozhong, Directus reported. The South China Morning Post said at that time, "This group, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of the Politburo's newly appointed seats, share similarities including educational training in military-industrial engineering in fields such as aerospace, nuclear energy and ordinance. Most possess high-level managerial experience in China's vast military-industrial sector. And all have transformed from engineer managers to local, then national political leaders."
It also pointed out how the group members were relatively young, with an average age of just under 60. The youngest, Li Ganjie, was 59. Even Western analysts were certain that these leaders are likely to remain influential at the very top of China's political power structure for another decade or more, Directus reported.
Their arrival was greeted with suspicions that a new elite was being created in Chinese politics, with the new group being positioned to liaise with both the party and the military leadership in the building of China's military-industrial complex. The group is expected to create military, economic, political and international conditions for taking on the US complex in a flat-out bid for world power at a future date, for Xi, Directus reported.
Economically, the group would harness market forces to serve the party's ultimate interest in retaining a monopoly of power. It would apply its military-industrial experience to the reshaping of the Chinese economy to champion both a stronger statist framework and corporate market-economic success. Finally, it would work towards civil-military integration by leveraging technological innovations in the civil sector to advance weapons development for the Chinese military, and vice versa.
These 'youngsters' would oversee economic growth and technological innovation, the latter focusing on sophisticated armaments that can swing China's relations with the world community in its favour. Many of these assumptions are still trapped in their theoretical frameworks even though the group's members are said to be finding their feet in their areas of individual endeavour. But to what extent and how they will successfully implement strategic coordination between the PLA and the party-State is something to be seen, Directus reported.
Unlike in the United States, where the complex is decentralized and the result of public and private enterprise seamlessly supervised by the administration and the industrialists, China suffers from too much centralization, a power Xi would not be willing to share. Analysts now believe the ultimate provocation for the urgent march towards the military-industrial complex is that China wants to be the dominant military power in the Asia-Pacific, capable of deterring and if needed, defeating the United States in a future conflict.
But it is not clear if Beijing's main aim is to project its power throughout the world like the United States. Four years ago, when Xi was into his second term in power, the government said in its 2019 white paper that it will "never threaten any other country or seek any sphere of influence". It maintains a no-first-use nuclear policy, has no military alliances, and claims to oppose interference in other countries' affairs. Also, it must be noted that given the myriad disputes China has entered into in its region in Asia, the PLA will be tied up close to home most of the time in the near future. It may simply not find time to project itself outside the continent and become a global force.
The only option left for China is to pursue the goal of projecting its economic influence with the help of its BRI program and allow the military to be the follow-up force in countries which sign up for BRI. However, experts contend that Xi's effort to harness the resources of the private sector for military development could undermine China's 40 years of economic freedom under the "reform and opening-up" policy championed by Deng Xiaoping and his successors, Directus reported.
In that case, any inefficient state-directed economic management risks China suffering the same fate as befell the former Soviet Union. (ANI)
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)