Central Military Commission

From Academic Kids

Template:Politics of the People's Republic of China The Central Military Commission (Chinese: 中央军事委员会 pinyin: Zhōngyāng Jūnsh Wěiyunhu ) refers to one of two bodies within the People's Republic of China. Unlike most national armies, the People's Liberation Army is not considered as just another ministry. Although China does have a Ministry of National Defense, headed by a Minister of National Defense, it exists solely for liaison with foreign militaries and does not have command authority. One of the few other nations with same structure is Vietnam.

In China, the party and state Central Military Commissions are in command of the People's Liberation Army (including the PLA Ground Force, PLA Navy, PLA Air Force and People's Armed Police ) and have overlapping positions. In actuality, the party and the state CMC have identical top leaderships and differ only in that the party CMC also contains some lower ranking regional commanders. The convention has been that the CMC consists of uniformed military commanders except for the chairman and usually the senior vice-chairman who are senior party officials. Another convention is that the military members of the CMC are generally not members of either the Politburo or the State Council outside of the Ministry of National Defense, although they all tend to be members of the Communist Party of China and are members of the Central Committee. The military members of the CMC are apparently chosen with regular promotion procedures from within the People's Liberation Army.

There is the state CMC and the Party CMC. The state CMC theoretically reports to the National People's Congress but is in practice autonomous. The state CMC was created by the Constitution of the People's Republic of China in 1982 and was intended to formalize the role of the military within the state structure. Power is wielded through the party military commission, but legitimacy arises from the state CMC. The Party CMC by contrast is theoretically subordinate to the Politburo of the Communist Party of China. Therefore under ordinary conditions, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China commands the Party CMC which then issues policy directives to the State CMC which then commands the armed forces.

During periods of political stress such as the Tian'anmen Protests of 1989, this system can act in an altogether different way. During those protests, the President of the People's Republic of China Yang Shangkun was able to cooperate with the Chairman of the CMC Deng Xiaoping to effectively overwhelm Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang.

Along with posts of General Secretary and Presidency, the Chairmanship of the Central Military Commission is the third crown in the Chinese political realm.

The Chairman of the CMC is often a senior official who has given up his other posts, and the CMC Chairman was held by both Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin after given up their other posts. In the case of Deng Xiaoping, he was able to exercise considerable power after this retirement in part from his position as CMC Chairman.

There was speculation that Jiang Zemin would be able to retain some authority after his retirement from the positions of General Secretary and President however this does not appear to be the case. One major factor, which went unnoticed by many analysts, is that in contrast to Deng Xiaoping who always had close relations with the People's Liberation Army, Jiang has no military background. In addition, with the promotion of the fourth generation of Chinese leaders to lead the civilian party, there was also a corresponding promotion of military leaders, and all of the military members of the CMC come from Hu Jintao's generation rather than from Jiang's, and at the time of the leadership transition, there appeared some very sharp editorials from military officers suggesting that the military would have strong objections to Jiang attempting to exercise power behind the scenes. Jiang Zemin gave up his posts as Chairman the party's Central Military Commission in September 2004 to Hu Jintao, and the state's in March 2005, solidifying Hu's position as paramount leader.

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