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Why are Chinese companies suddenly forming militias with their own employees

by News Room
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This Departments of the People’s Armed Forcesmade up of civilians who keep their regular jobs, is trained as a kind of reserve force for the Chinese military, the largest military in the world. support during the war.

The armed forces, which do not currently operate outside of China, have more in common with the US National Guard than the militia movement, which refers to private paramilitary organizations that typically have a right-wing political focus.

Big challenges

The creation of these corporate brigades in particular highlights Beijing’s growing concern about potential conflicts, China experts say.

The revival is also seen as a response to the pandemic and part of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s efforts to maintain or better yet strengthen the Communist Party’s control over society, including business, says Neil Thomas of the Asia Society.

China’s economy grew by 5.2% in 2023, slightly better than Beijing’s official target. But the country faces many challenges. This means that we have to deal with rising youth unemployment and an increasing number of bankruptcies.

Most of the companies that have established militias so far are state-owned companies that are directly owned by the state or regional government.

Protests

But in December, Yili Group, the world’s fifth-largest milk producer, became the first major private Chinese company in recent history to set up a branch of the People’s Army. Meanwhile, others have already followed suit.

And that worries many Chinese people as well. The number of strikes and demonstrations, which have not been seen before in China, is increasing significantly. Because the Chinese are unhappy and now dare to show it. Although in a rather modest way. Company militias have an important role to play here.

“Military-led corporate militias help the Communist Party more effectively suppress social unrest, such as consumer protests and labor strikes,” Chinese experts say.

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