President Xi Jinping, who also is chairman of the Central Military Commission, confers an Armed Police flag on General Wang Ning (left), commander of the Armed Police, and General Zhu Shengling, political commissar of the force, in Beijing on Wednesday. (LI GANG/ XINHUA)
Force told to quickly merge with PLA system
President Xi Jinping urged the People's Armed Police Force on Wednesday to maintain absolute loyalty to the Communist Party of China and continue to improve its operational capability.
Xi, also chairman of the Central Military Commission, said the Armed Police Force plays a key role in safeguarding national and political security, social stability and people's well-being, so it must be under the complete control of the Party.
He said the Armed Police must be flexible, multifunctional and capable and should speed up its integration with the People's Liberation Army's joint operation system. He told the force to concentrate on combat-ready training and to be well prepared for emergency-response and counterterrorism operations. He also ordered the force to regulate its officers with the strictest discipline, to leave no room for corruption.
Xi made the remarks after he conferred an Armed Police flag on General Wang Ning, commander of the Armed Police, and General Zhu Shengling, political commissar of the force, at a ceremony on Wednesday morning at the Central Military Commission headquarters in Beijing.
Starting this month, the Armed Police Force has been placed under the unified control of the CPC Central Committee and Central Military Commission. Previously, it was jointly administered by the military commission and the State Council.
Under the new command chain, Armed Police units take orders directly from the force's headquarters, which, likewise, will follow directives from the Central Military Commission. The Armed Police Force has been included in the Central Military Commission system and no longer takes orders from the State Council.
At Wednesday's ceremony, Xi said the transfer was an important decision made by the CPC Central Committee to make sure it has absolute control over all of the nation's armed forces, adding the move will extensively boost the Party's efforts to build a strong military and ensure long-term stability and prosperity.
The history of the Armed Police Force can be traced to 1949, the year the People's Republic of China was founded, when its predecessor — the Chinese People's Public Security Central Column — was set up to take charge of internal security. In the following decades, the force's name and affiliation was changed, but most of the time it was administered by the Central Military Commission.
In 1982, some PLA units responsible for domestic security were merged with police forces in charge of border defense and firefighting to form a new Armed Police Force. At that time, the Central Military Commission and State Council began to share its administration.