Interview With a Chinese Refugee: Xi Jinping Fears PLA Revolt


For the first time, a former Navy commander of the People’s Liberation Army responded to an interview with a Japanese media source and described a detailed account of the military’s true intentions and weaknesses.


Former PLA Navy Lieutenant Colonel

Yao Cheng

Yao Cheng was born in 1960. He joined the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in 1978 and graduated from the Navy Aviation Engineering Academy, the Navy Flight Academy and the Navy Command Academy. He served as a staff member of the Naval Aviation Command after working as a corps and warship aviation soldier. As a PLA spy, he was sentenced to a seven-year imprisonment for leaking state secrets by stealing a Russian anti-submarine helicopter and triggering Russia’s rebellion. He went into exile in the United States in 2016 after he was released from prison.


―― You are one of the few people who left the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and fled to the U.S. From your standpoint, do you think Mr. Xi Jinping is controlling the army?

Mr. Cheng: To cut to the chase, I don’t think he is controlling the PLA effectively. In 2015, Xi Jinping restructured the PLA that was divided into seven military districts into five war districts. The reform was supposedly intended to enhance the operation of three armies, land, sea and air, in an integrated manner. The reality was to reduce the influence of military executives and prevent them from threatening Xi Jinping.

This reform held down the Army post, but I don’t think the Navy and Air Force posts have been held down.

For example, Zhang Dingfa (2003-2006), Wu Shengli (2006-2017) and Shen Jinlong (2017-present), all who served as commanders-in-chief of the Navy, is a native of Shanghai (WHICH ARE YOU REFERRING TO – YOU MENTION THREE NAMES HERE. PLEASE CLARIFY0. They’re all part of the Jiang Zemin faction that continues a power struggle with Xi Jinping. Xi Jinping arrested Mr. Wu and tried to send his aide to lead the Navy, but the Navy resisted, and Mr. Wu was released. Even the leadership of the Navy was won over by the Jiang Zemin faction.

Xi Jinping is dissatisfied because he spent a huge sum of money to build many warships of low combat capability. The two aircraft carriers are especially useless.


Military Leaders Want to Distance Themselves From Xi Jinping

Mr. Cheng: The Chinese Communist Party has a custom of purging surroundings of the previous leader every time a new leader is to take over. It is in this custom that seven Navy generals were pushed to commit suicide after the inauguration of the Xi administration.

Military leaders kiss up to Xi Jinping, but they actually fear him. The military has been very corrupt for a long time and there are no ‘clean’ executives when it comes to money. Under the name of ‘anti-corruption,’ Xi Jinping can potentially fire any military generals. If a general gets too close with Xi Jinping, however, he may become the next target for a purge under a new general. Therefore, the real intention of military generals is that they want to stay out of political struggles as much as they can.

Recently, an online article by General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, who supported the pro-democracy movement during the Tiananmen Square incident and was eliminated from Chinese history, went viral. The power struggle may be intensifying within the CCP.


Xi Jinping Is Afraid of Chinese Troops Over the U.S. Military

―― If the PLA is not a monolith, can it compete with the U.S. military?

Mr. Cheng: In terms of military technology, the PLA is inferior to the U.S. military. But keep in mind that the PLA won’t hesitate to sacrifice their soldiers to beat the U.S. military in the first place.

They claim, ‘It’s okay for one to two million Chinese soldiers on our side to die in a war against the U.S., but the U.S. won’t be able to stand the deaths of 10,000 to 20,000 American soldiers. So, a war with the U.S. isn’t scary.’

The desire to wage the U.S.-China war in the Taiwan Strait reinforces this idea. There are three reasons.

First of all, if you can fight near China’s land, you can push past the disadvantage of lower weapon capabilities with the logic of numbers. Second of all, if the U.S. military attacks China’s submarines and aircraft carrier bases, China will declare that they will ‘not hesitate to carry out a nuclear war.’ Then, the U.S. will be hesitant to attack China. Third of all, China’s land area is so large that it is difficult for the U.S. to defeat the CCP.

In fact, the thing that Xi Jinping really fears is not a war with the U.S., Japan or Taiwan. What he really fears is the PLA. Foreigners can’t understand this concept.

――That’s an interesting point you’re making. Could you give us more detail?

Mr. Cheng: The PLA is an army of the Communist Party. It doesn’t exist to protect the nation or the people, but it exists to maintain the dictatorship.

In the meantime, the rapid progression of a digital society has led to an increase in the number of military personnel who understand universal values such as freedom and human rights. They see problems with dictatorship and corruption, and many military personnel are starting to think they don’t want to fight for the Party.

The Communist Party has tightened information censorship, but it hasn’t been very effective. They are making up for the military’s dissatisfaction by raising their salaries.

If a Taiwan emergency occurs, some troops will escape the army while others will be awakened from brainwashing thanks to the efforts of Taiwan’s political maneuvering. As a result, a Taiwan contingency could be a disaster for the Party.

Another problem the Communist Party faces is that they have to end battles in the shortest time possible because if the battle is prolonged, the brainwashing effect in the army can’t be maintained.


Set Up a Psychological Warfare Against the PLA

―― How should the rest of the world, including Japan, respond to the expansion of China?

Mr. Cheng: According to a Chinese military book called the ‘Art of War’ by Sun Tzu, the most important thing is to attack the enemy’s mind and win without fighting. You must take advantage of this.

Xi Jinping is afraid of the PLA carrying a politically neutral stance, no longer supporting the Communist Party, or that the PLA will take over his Party. Western nations should increase military deterrence while announcing, ‘There is no one in the PLA who works for the Communist Party. Moreover, the army is supposed to exist for the people, not for the party.”

Military officers in China are highly educated for the most part. They have the base knowledge to understand democracy. No matter how much the CCP censors information, it is impossible to block 100% of information and keep brainwashing military personnel.

China’s future rests on the PLA officers and soldiers. My greatest wish is for them to raise the banner of justice and break away from communism.

Interview With a Chinese Refugee: Xi Jinping Fears PLA Revolt
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