04/22/2016, 12.51
CHINA
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Xi Jinping gifts himself new title: He will lead the army in case of war

The Chinese president is already General Secretary of the Communist Party, "the nucleus of leadership", the head of two new committees on the economy and director of the Central Military Commission. From now on he is also Commander in chief of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Joint Battle Command. Such a concentration of power not seen since the death of Mao Zedong.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping was gifted himself a new title, further increasing his personal power and plunging the nation back into the era of Mao Zedong. Xi, as well as leading the nation, holding the position of General Secretary of the Communist Party; Director of the Central Military Commission; President of two new central commissions on the economy; head of the Politburo Standing Committee, and - a few weeks ago - "head" of communist leadership. Added to this impressive string of titles he has a new role: Commander in Chief of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Joint Battle Command.

Thanks to his new title, Xi will be authorized to lead the military in the event of open war. Until now, within his  role on the Military Commission, he could do whatever he wanted with the army but only in time of peace: in the event of open war, military leaders would make the decisions. Now things are changing, and experts warn: "Such a concentration of power has not been seen in China since the death of Mao Zedong."

Xi told the PLA that the Joint Battle Command should be "absolutely loyal, resourceful in fighting, efficient in commanding, and courageous and capable of winning wars". The proclamation was pronounced during the inspection of the troops of the new Control Center: the Chinese leader was dressed in the khaki military uniform and boots issued to soldiers.

Shaanxi political commentator, Ma Xiaoming, told Radio Free Asia: "The propaganda goes to show Xi Jinping as the savior of the Chinese people. This move by Xi Jinping is characteristic of the imperialist thinking that portrays him as the savior of the nation," Ma said. "[That thinking] is also one of the biggest reasons for his rise to power".

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