Ming Pao says in its report today titled PLA New Rules: Treasonable Speech Guilty of a Crime, “The Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Political Department has promulgated “Regulations on the Standards for Prosecution of the Crime of the Serviceman’s violation of Duty” for punishment of crimes of serviceman’s violation of duty in accordance with law and protection of the state’s military interests.
“The part of the regulations on the ‘crime of serviceman’s defect’ stipulates that a serviceman turning traitor and fleeing from China, turning traitor and fleeing outside China, joining a reactionary organisation or giving treasonable speech constitutes a crime.
“Some academics in PLA told Ming Pao that the PLA’s primary discipline is ‘obeying order and command’ and ‘no democracy or freedom can be allowed in that respect.’”
There is already a chapter in China’s Criminal Law on the crimes of serviceman’s violation of duty. The Regulations interpret the provisions of the Criminal Law and list in details the cases for prosecution.
Article 11 of the Regulations on the crime of serviceman’s defection provides that where a serviceman leaves his position in the period when he is performing public duty and turns traitor and flees from China or turns traitor and flees outside China, thus endangering the state’s military interests, he has committed the crime of defection.
The Regulations also clearly stipulate that a serviceman suspected of any of the acts of fleeing from China due to opposition to the state’s political power or the socialist system, giving public treasonable speech, or joining a reactionary agency or organisation abroad shall be prosecuted.
The corresponding Article 430 of the Criminal Law stipulates that an offender of a crime of serviceman’s defection shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years or criminal detention; and if the circumstance is serious, to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than five years.
A serviceman who drives an aircraft or warship who turns traitor and flees, or has any other especially serious circumstance, will be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than ten years, life imprisonment or death.
Note: The death penalty may be meted out for the crime of defection if serious.
The Regulations contain many provisions related to wartime offences, including disobeying orders in wartime, surrendering to the enemy, deserting from one’s unit during a battle, fighting inactively, injuring a civilian, and other crimes.
Those provisions were all in in a previous draft of the Regulation, for trial implementation. Such provisions are now formally written into the Regulations as of today.
Senior Colonel Liu Mingfu, a professor of the National Defence University, explained to a Ming Pao reporter that the promulgation of the Regulations aimed at providing the PLA legal guarantee for victory as they provide the grounds for strict command of the troops.
In addition, Prof. Colonel Liu said that there has been an established tradition in the PLA that when making preparations for war, discipline in war will be announced before troops leave for the battlefield. Therefore, the promulgation of the Regulations is “a major measure in preparation of war.”Source: Ming Pao “PLA New Rules: Treasonable Speech Guilty of a Crime” (Excerpts and summary translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee)
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