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China to centralise command over military reserve forces

China’s military reserve forces will be brought under the “centralised and unified command” of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Central Military Commission (CMC) from 1 July, the state-owned Xinhua News Agency reported on 28 June.

Noting that reserve forces are “an important part” of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the CPC’s Central Committee said the adjustment in the leadership structure is aimed at “upholding the party’s absolute leadership over the army and building a strong military in the new era”, according to Xinhua.

CPC called on the “relevant military and civilian units to take active and co-ordinated measures to implement the changes to the leadership structure”, the news agency reported the news.

According to the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Beijing, China’s roughly 510,000-strong reserve forces are currently under the dual leadership of the PLA and local party committees and governments.

The latest developments come after the China’s top legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, adopted on 20 June a draft revision to the Law on the People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF).

As part of the revision, the 1.5 million-strong PAPF, which has been under CMC control since 2017, also came under the “centralised and unified leadership” of the CPC’s Central Committee.

Both the CPC’s Central Committee and the CMC are chaired by President Xi Jinping.

Xinhua reported that the revised law, which took effect the following day, reiterated that the PAPF is tasked with patrolling, handling security emergencies, and preventing and handling terrorist activities, adding that it must also conduct maritime law enforcement and take part in rescue efforts.

No further details were provided, but media outlets, including the South China Morning Post

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