Tuesday, May 26, 2015

China's new defense white paper and military law

On May 26, the Chinese government issued its newest Defense White Paper, China's Military Strategy, designed to put the best face on Chinese military developments. Law takes a subsidiary place in the Defense White Paper but can be seen, nonetheless, in the following places (among others):
  1. Intensifying efforts in running the armed forces with strict discipline and in accordance with the law. Aiming at strengthening the revolutionization, modernization and regularization of the armed forces in all respects, China will innovate and develop theories and practice in relation to running the armed forces in accordance with the law, establish a well-knit military law system with Chinese characteristics, so as to elevate the level of rule by law of national defense and armed forces building..
  2. Improve the management responsibilities of relevant military and civilian institutions, improve the general standards for both the military and the civilian sectors, make studies on the establishment of a policy system in which the government makes the investment, offers tax incentives and financial support, and expedites legislation promoting military-civilian coordinated development....
  3. the armed forces will continue to conduct such MOOTWs [Military operations other than war] as emergency rescue and disaster relief, counter-terrorism and stability maintenance, rights and interests protection, guard duty, international peacekeeping, and international humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR). They will work to incorporate MOOTW capacity building into military modernization and PMS, and pay special attention to establishing emergency command mechanisms, building emergency forces, training professionals, supporting task-specific equipment, and formulating relevant policies and regulations. Military emergency-response command systems will be tuned into state emergency management mechanisms. China's armed forces will persist in unified organization and command, scientific employment of forces, rapid and efficient actions, and strict observation of related policies and regulations. 
As this writer has pointed out, on this blog (one year ago!) and elsewhere, Chinese military legal officials recognize that they have to deal with a range of complex issues, but have an inadequate body of legislation to deal with them. Senior military legal officials see it as a particular problem when the Chinese military has to increasingly interact with other domestic institutions and foreign and international organizations. Civil military integration is an example where better legislation will be needed as well as dispute resolution. Retired military legal officials are more outspoken about the secrecy and isolation of military law and military legal institutions from the rest of Chinese law. Future blogposts will explore their insights.

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