August 11, 2014 / 4:50 AM / 5 years ago

China's military tells soldiers not to spread rumours

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s military instructed its soldiers on Monday not to believe in or spread rumours and to oppose “political liberalism”, following the fall of a former senior officer who has been accused of corruption.

China's Central Military Commission Vice Chairman General Xu Caihou listens to national anthems during a welcome ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, in this October 27, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/Files

The government said in June that Xu Caihou, who retired as vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission last year and from the ruling Communist Party’s decision-making Politburo in 2012, would be court-martialed.

The military has since publicly pledged its support for the move and its loyalty to the party a number of times.

In a front page story detailing new education and propaganda guidelines, the military’s official People’s Liberation Army Daily said soldiers had to be “clear and steadfast” in their politics and support China’s ongoing reforms.

“Resolutely resist mistaken opinions that confuse public opinion and interfere in reforms; don’t make irresponsible remarks, do no listen to, believe or spread news from the grapevine and resolutely guard against political liberalism,” the newspaper said.

“From beginning to end it is absolutely necessary to uphold the absolute leadership of the party over the armed forces.”

President Xi Jinping heads the Central Military Commission, which controls the 2.3 million-strong armed forces, the world’s largest, and has repeatedly reminded them to be loyal to the party.

Xi has made weeding out corruption in the military a top goal. It comes as Xi steps up efforts to modernise forces that are projecting power across disputed waters in the East and South China Seas. China has not fought a war in decades.

The newspaper said military reforms were a key part of the government’s overall reform package, which includes further reducing the role of the state in the economy and easing of family planning rules.

Xi has stressed the importance of reforming the military and the armed forces have a duty to follow his words to the letter, the report said.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait

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