Fate of military art troupes remains under discussion
Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops in Hong Kong and Macao, which were under the Guangzhou Military Area Command, have been re-assigned to the Southern Theater Command, reports said.
Lieutenant General Zhong Zhiming, a delegate of National People's Congress who participated in China's military reform, told Hong Kong-based newspaper Wen Wei Po on Monday that no adjustment has been made to the two garrisons' mission and their establishment, but whether the reduction of troops would affect the two garrisons remains under further discussion.
During September's military parade in Beijing, President Xi Jinping announced that 300,000 soldiers would be demobilized.
According to Zhong, the demobilization will formally begin this year, focusing on noncombat personnel. He said the Central Military Commission (CMC) has given a clear guideline on military reform, and this year will focus on reforming the military's scale, structure and policy.
On whether PLA art troupes would be an important part of this demobilization, Zhong said that Chinese military authorities are also discussing if they will be shut down or merged.
The Beijing News reported in January that the art troupe under the Nanjing Military Area Command had been shut down after a PLA Daily report called the troupe's performers "former" members of the Nanjing Military Area.
China has recently implemented a series of reform measures to enhance the Communist Party of China's leadership over the military and boost the PLA's combat capabilities by establishing a modern military system.
In February, China regrouped its seven military area commands into five theater commands, a move that observers said is to beef up the PLA's combat capabilities and enhance its response efficiency through a joint command system to face new challenges.
The five theater commands, literally "battle zone commands," are named by their strategic locations in north, south, east, west and central China, replacing the seven military area commands in Beijing, Nanjing, Chengdu, Ji'nan, Shenyang, Lanzhou and Guangzhou.
In January, China restructured its four military departments into 15 organs under the CMC, a change that analysts say will centralize power under the CMC to improve the military's efficiency and curb corruption.
Previously, all these functions came under four headquarters under the PLA - General Staff, General Political, General Logistics and General Armaments.