To expand the power of its Central Military Commission (CMC), the Chinese government has amended its National Defence Law from January 1. This will help in mobilising military and civilian resources in defence of the ‘national interest’ at home and abroad. According to ANI, the amendment was passed by the National People’s Congress on December 26, after two years of deliberation. Also, three articles were removed and more than fifty were amended. There were also six additions.
The legislation will be focussing on the need for building a nationwide coordination mechanism in order to mobilise state-owned and private enterprises and take part in research of new defence technologies that cover conventional weapons and domains of cybersecurity, space and electromagnetics. As per analysts, the amendments are aimed to strengthen the military leadership under Chinese President Xi Jinping. Also, it will provide it with the means to respond to the conflicts between China and the United States. According to the reports by ANI, Deng Yuwen, a former deputy editor of the Communist Party publication Study Times said that the amendments aim to legalise the “special” nature of China’s political and defence system while dealing with situations that could harm them at home and abroad.
An independent political commentator, Chen Daoyin, said, “The move to include ‘development interests’ as a reason for armed mobilisation and war in the law would provide legal grounds for the country to launch war in the legitimate name of defending national development interests”. He said that the changes show how the regime has gained the confidence to legitimise its ‘long-standing’ principle that the party ‘commands the gun’ and strengthen its ‘absolute leadership’ over-armed and reserved forces. Taipei-based military expert Chi Le-yi said, “The law revision is also a symbolic battle call by the party to warn all Chinese people to be combat-ready for a nationwide defence mobilisation, which the party has never done since [it came to power] in 1949”.
(with inputs from ANI)