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H1 CSE Theme 2 : Role of Political Institutions [PLA VS. The Rest] Essay People's Liberation Army Communist Party Of China

 
THEME 2: AUTHORITY AND GOVERNANCE (Role of China’s Political Institutions)
CJC Humanities Dept. 2012
1
 
QUESTION ANALYSIS
F
OCUS
 
MICRO QN: Comparing the importance of PLA in comparison with China’s 2 other political institutions: the Party (i.e.
CCP) and the State.
A
SSUMPTION
 
The PLA is the most important political institution in governing China today, and it primarily ensures China’s political
and socio-economic progress in the 21
st
 Century.
C
RITERIA
-
 
Which institution bears the most influence in major political decisions, such as coming out with the Five-Year
Plans, implementing laws and regulations, producing policies to manage economic growth etc?
-
 
Which institution has
proven
 that it has considerable control over the actions and functioning of the other 2
political institutions, as well as other elements of China’s political structure?
-
 
Which institution has the most public support that serves to legitimize its governing role in China?
E
VIDENCE
 
Varying evidence e.g. professionalization of the PLA; the PLA’s increasing non-political roles such as in UN PKO etc.
S
TAND
 
The Chinese Communist Party, instead of the PLA, is the most important political institution in China today.
INTRODUCTION
After Deng advocated the division of labour as the fundamental basis for political
reforms since 1978, state power in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) had been
exercised through 3 inter-locking political institutions: the Chinese Communist Party
(CCP), the State and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The political structure of the
PRC essentially evolved into an oligarchy whereby political power and advancement
depends on gaining and retaining the support of an informal body of people who
constitute the leadership of the 3 organs. However, functional differentiation gave rise
to political cleavages and resulted in inconsistencies in policy implementation, with
duplications of similar institutions occurring at both Party and State level, which resulted
in unnecessary repetitive portfolios and unhealthy competitions. As such, with the
intricate complexities that exist between the relationships of these 3 political entities,
one may then question which of these serves as the most important political institution
of China today. One may largely disagree wit
h the given assertion because it is the
CCP, and not the PLA, that serves as the most significant political entity in China today –
since it is the overall locus control that harnesses the operations of the other 2 political
organs, and the one that wields the ultimate power in key political decision-making
processes to ensure the survival and socio-economic progress of the nation.
TS1: Undoubtedly, the PLA does play a crucial role as a political institution in China
today, especially in safeguarding China’s national interests and flexing her military
muscle to project China as a rising regional and global power that is a force to reckon
with.
Being the 3
rd
 largest military institution in the world with annual defence budget
rising exponentially at double-digit rate per year (from US$30 billion in 2000 to almost
US$160 billion in 2012), the increasing emphasis that the Chinese government has
placed on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is ringing alarm bells in Asia and the rest of
the world as they are becoming more wary of China’s military expansion. The PLA is
indeed crucial in projecting China as a rising superpower on the global stage, and has
spurred several strategies to solidify its dominance within the Asia-Pacific region. For
instance, the recent “Anti-Access/Area Denial” (A2/AD) strategy that the PLA has
adopted, an idea that uses pinpoint ground attack and anti-ship missiles, a growing
fleet of modern submarines and cyber and anti-satellite weapons to disable another
nation’s military assets from afar, has significantly deterred USA’s military advancement
in Asia as China’s rapid military professionalization poses a significantly greater and
costlier risk for USA to further intensify her military advancement in Asia. This has gravely
eroded the confidence of America’s Asian allies that the guarantor of their security will
always be for them, and have expressed greater inclination to seek support from
China’s PLA in safeguarding the region’s security instead. This is evident in showing how
the PLA
has proven
 itself in projecting China as a prominent regional power that has
yielded a greater degree of supports from her Asian counterparts. Furthermore, the PLA
has also justified itself as an important political entity to China in terms of safeguarding
How far do you agree that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is the most important political
institution in China today? [2011/H1/VJC Prelim]