Date
23 August 2017
Xi Jinping addressed troops in Fujian following the official announcement of an investigation into former security chief Zhou Yongkang. Photo: Xinhua
Xi Jinping addressed troops in Fujian following the official announcement of an investigation into former security chief Zhou Yongkang. Photo: Xinhua

Xi’s Fujian troops visit draws more than usual attention

President Xi Jinping paid a half-day visit to a military facility in the southeastern Fujian province Wednesday and addressed the troops there, fueling speculation that it was a calculated move ahead of the Chinese Army Day on August 1.

During the speech, Xi — who heads the Central Military Commission (CMC) — vowed to crack down on military corruption, state news agency Xinhua reported Thursday.

The Chinese leader urged troops to strengthen their ties with people and “avoid undesirable work styles such as formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance”, the report said.

In other comments, Xi stressed the need for the military to be loyal to the Communist Party of China, saying “the Party’s absolute leadership over the army should be unswervingly adhered to.”

Ming Pao Daily noted that the trip has drawn much attention as it came just a couple of days after Beijing officially confirmed a corruption investigation into former security chief Zhou Yongkang.

Xi made no comment on the performance of the provincial government during his visit, in contrast to what he normally does during local visits, the report noted. That suggests that the trip was specifically made to boost the morale and cheer the troops.

Before Xi took high-rank positions in Beijing, he had served in different posts in Fujian for a total of 17 years. The stints between 1985 and 2002 included time as deputy mayor of Xiamen, party secretary of Fuzhou and governor of the province. During the period, Xi also held a number of posts related to military affairs, building deep relationship with local troops.

Several officers who had once served in the 31st army group stationed in Xiamen have been promoted since Xi took the helm of the CMC, reflecting the importance that Xi attaches to the unit, the report noted.

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TL/JP/RC

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