TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former Lieutenant Colonel Yao Cheng (姚誠) of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Naval Command said on Thursday (May 28) that high-level power struggles within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mean Beijing does not have the military strength to invade Taiwan.
Given that China’s annual two sessions have commenced, high-level power struggles have become more intense. This has led to the end of many officials, including Hu Wenming (胡問鳴), former chairman of the CCP’s China Shipbuilding Industry, Newtalk reported.
According to a Voice of America report, Yao stressed that senior PLA officers are no longer “falling in line.”
Yao Cheng noted that after a new CCP leader comes to power, they cleanse the PLA of the former administration’s proxies. For example, Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) eliminated Mao Zedong's (毛澤東) influence from the military once he became head of state.
After Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) took office, the PLA was filled with vice-chairmen of the Central Military Commission appointed by Jiang Zemin (江澤民). However, it was not until Xi Jinping (習近平) came to power in 2012 that most of Jiang’s generals and agents were arrested. Seven former generals have been detained since Xi took power.
Yao said nowadays senior military officials do not fall in line with their superiors, as this would mean they would be replaced in the next change of power. Instead, the military officers stand on the sidelines, intently observing what will happen next.
Xi has implemented an anti-corruption campaign in 2012 that has seen countless government and military officials removed from power and arrested.
Senior military officials have been dissatisfied with the wave of arrests made by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the top anti-corruption body in China. As a result, veterans spent two days protesting over military pensions and perceived poor treatment by the government.
Yao also mentioned the “one child policy.” Since most soldiers in the PLA are only children, there are many deserters in the military. He said they did not want to go into battle.
Yao concluded: “The internal problems of the PLA are serious and it is unable to attack Taiwan."