Military quake relief efforts show Xi in command

Taipei, April 22 (CNA) Chinese President Xi Jinping's strong authority over the military has been shown by the swift military rescue efforts in the wake of a powerful earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan Province. It also highlights Xi's role as chairman of the Central Military Commission, which controls the army. Xi, the second son of Xi Zhongxun, one of the founders of the Communist guerrilla movement in Shaanxi and a former vice premier, has established deep and comprehensive connections with the military and is considered pro-military, due to his own background and his father's ties to the military. Xi quickly established himself as a strong commander-in-chief after he assumed the chairmanship of the commission in November 2012. His strong military leadership is different from the leadership style of his predecessors. This can be seen by the fact that it took much longer for former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to mobilize military rescue and relief efforts for areas affected by the 2008 earthquake in the same province. In addition, Xi has also made greater efforts to improve military ethics than several of his predecessors. While Xi has begun a thorough review of the China's navy, army and air force, he has also created change in the military administration by releasing the so called "Ten Prohibitions" for the military. The "Ten Prohibitions" are aimed at regulating the conduct of military officers, imposing controls on military spending and cracking down on corruption in the armed forces. Xi's style of military rule has received positive and immediate reactions from the People's Liberation Army and military media outlets. It was reported that since the formulation of the new regulations, military ethics have been significantly improved. According to media reports, Chinese military personnel rushed to the quake-hit areas about 18 minutes after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit the province's Ya'an City at 8:02 a.m. April 20. In addition, the Central Military Commission's Chengdu Military Area Command (MAC) set up a joint command to lead the rescue and relief mission much faster than the similar command unit that was set up following the 2008 quake. Meanwhile, 1,200 members of the Sichuan contingent of the Chinese People's Armed Police Force began to conduct on-site rescue work 28 minutes after the quake. At 10 a.m. that day, helicopters had arrived in the area and Xi then issued a mobilization order at around 10:30 a.m., making saving lives the primary mission of the relief operations. As of 9 p.m. that day, a total of 13,000 soldiers, officers, armed police personnel and members of paramilitary reserve forces had been deployed, according to the reports. (By Zep Hu and Y.L. Kao)