The Chinese puzzle
Posted September 23, 2014on:
Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, President of the People’s Republic of China and also the Chairman of that country’s Central Military Commission, was recently in India with his beautiful, folk singer wife Peng Liyuuan. As Xi was holding talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Indian leaders on wide-ranging bilateral issues, the Chinese troops were continuing their intrusions into the Ladakh area – quite an irritant in otherwise cordial atmosphere.
Back home after hoping for greater cooperation between the two countries, Xi reportedly reshuffled the country’s top brass and called on Beijing’s army chiefs to improve troops’ combat readiness so that they are able to “win a regional war.”
“The headquarters of all PLA (People’s Liberation Army) forces should improve their combat readiness and sharpen their ability to win a regional war in the age of information technology,” Xi was reported to have said at a meeting with the country’s military elite. “In the face of a new national security situation and new requirements for defence preparation … [the military] must strive to build new types of command that follow party instructions and are skilled in planning combat strategies,…”
Significantly, all this was made public through China’s official Xinhua news agency.
In the late 1970’s I was (then living in Delhi) asked by the Editor of a prominent Hindi daily to write for the paper’s Sunday supplement small pieces on neighbouring countries. The idea was to educate the youngsters about the countries in our neighbourhood. The series was published under the heading: ‘Padosi Deshon Ko Jaaniye’ (know the neighbouring countries); it was later expanded to ‘Mitra Deshon Ko Jaaniye’ (know the friendly countries).
In addition to collecting material from various sources, I wrote to the embassies requesting them to send me the basic information about their respective countries, such as geographical area, population, major cities, constitution, languages, etc. I received wonderful material from most of the embassies. The only exception was the Chinese embassy which sent me a booklet of cartoons – without a single line about the country.
The Chinese are traditionally taciturn. They reach out to the media not as a routine but only as part of strategy. It is, therefore, puzzling why the Chinese leaders have made a public announcement of the discussions held at a confidential meeting of the top army brass!