Military shuts down 7 newspapers in reshuffle

Updated: 2016-01-21 08:04

By Zhao Lei(China Daily)

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Newspapers published by the seven regional military commands of the People's Liberation Army ceased operations on Friday, the military's flagship newspaper PLA Daily reported on Wednesday.

The oldest of them, Soldiers' News, published by the Guangzhou Military Command, was established in 1930; the youngest, Comrade-in-Arms of the Beijing Military Command, was born in 1949.

The closures are thought by some observers to indicate that the new regional military command structure announced in November by Xi Jinping, China's president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, has begun to exert its influence.

PLA units typically close their publications upon being reassigned.

Others closed were the Jinan Military Command's Vanguard, the Shenyang Military Command's Forward, the Chengdu Military Command's War Flag, the Nanjing Military Command's People's Frontline and the Lanzhou Military Command's People's Armed Forces.

The newspapers were said to have had publication frequencies ranging from three to five days a week. Circulation numbers were not released to the public because all were internal publications.

Military shuts down 7 newspapers in reshuffle

According to PLA Daily, the seven newspapers published their last issues on Friday, each with an article bidding farewell to readers and expressing support for ongoing military reforms.

For many who have served in the PLA, the newspaper of his or her command is the most familiar publication. The papers have long been regarded as the most important information platform for troops, even after the rise of the Internet and smartphones to which soldiers have restricted access. Officers and soldiers would read the newspaper regularly as part of their cultural and political education programs.

A senior publicity officer at the Jinan Command who asked not to be named said that editors and reporters at Vanguard are waiting for instructions about their new assignments.

An officer at the Beijing Command who also requested anonymity said the new regional military commands will not have their own newspapers.

In late November, Xi Jinping announced that the seven regional military commands would be reorganized. The new commands will be responsible for military operations, while the headquarters of the Army, Navy and Air Force will take charge of managing and training troops, he said.

In another development, the performing arts troupe of the Nanjing Military Command was disbanded recently, according to PLA Daily. The report did not provide details.

Xi said at the national commemorative parade on Sept 3 that China would cut the number of its troops by 300,000.

(China Daily 01/21/2016 page5)