Stop in the name of the PLA

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China’s booming sales of cars have helped to return firms like GM to profit. But another organisation has its eye on the country’s growing fleet of vehicles too: the Chinese military.

Southern Weekend reports that a new draft National Defence Transport Law was issued by the NPC Standing Committee at its most recent session late last month. Article 7 states that: “The people’s governments (above the county level) according to the needs of national defence can commandeer civilian vehicles, transport facilities, transport supplies and other civilian transportation resources according to the law. Any organisation or individual is liable to accept the lawful expropriation of civil transport resources.”

For new car owners the prospect of their BMW being seized is an unsettling prospect, and one that even one of the members of the NPC committee thought too arbitrary. Southern Weekend quoted him as saying the justification of “national defence” was too broad, as it could mean anything. He proposed it be changed in the final version to “wars and specific circumstances”.

The other area of anxiety for car owners that find their vehicles requisitioned is how they will be compensated – with many doubting that they’ll be granted a fair amount. In fact, netizen comments were generally derisory about the legislation. “Here comes another law to take people’s property in a perfectly justifiable manner”, complained one, referring to similar situation for property rights we reported on in WiC322.

Others wondered if the military was trying to get a message across to the public, including one netizen going by the monicker Mighty Brother Biao. “This is telling people that a war is around the corner,” he proclaimed.

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