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China Daily Website  

How corrupt army maintains combat power

Updated: 2015-01-16 18:00

BEIJING - The announcement that 16 senior military officials are under investigation or waiting for trial shocked many on Thursday, was the Communist Party of China (CPC)'s forceful response to their latest anti-graft pledge.

The 16 officials, of corps level and above, are accused of serious discipline violations and legal violations.

The officials span the People's Liberation Army (PLA)'s military regions including Shanxi, Tibet and Sichuan as well as its logistics department, second artillery corps and two military universities.

The unprecedented move sends a strong signal that the PLA is getting tougher on corruption and becoming more transparent in the anti-corruption drive. The CPC, which commands the army, is resolute in "purifying" the armed forces.

On Wednesday when the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection closed its three-day plenum which set the tone for 2015's counter-corruption and the PLA held its discipline inspection conference to make anti-graft arrangements in the 2.3 million-strong army.

Generals, especially members of the PLA's discipline watchdog attending the conference, were also present at this week's plenum of the CPC's top corruption eradication authority. It was the first time PLA disciplinarians attended the plenum.

Central Military Commission (CMC) Vice Chairman Xu Qiliang stressed at the conference the adherence to Party discipline and rules, resolute opposition to "small cliques and factions," and focus on key fields susceptible to graft.

Most duty crime cases in the military occurred in the areas of construction, personnel and finance management, and materials and armament procurement. Logistics posts have become one of the most susceptible to corruption.

Among the 16 shamed officials, Liu Zheng is not the first deputy head of the PLA General Logistics Department to be in the firing line. He was the successor of Gu Junshan who was charged with embezzlement, bribery, misuse of state funds and abuse of power in early 2012.

Liu was put under investigation in November 2014 by the military procuratorate, less than two years after being promoted to the post.

Former CMC vice chairman Xu Caihou was the biggest "tiger" on the army's corrupt figures' list. Xu was found to have fraudulently promoted officers and accepted huge bribes. CMC chairman Xi Jinping called for serious reflection on Xu's case.

Graft in the armed forces could undermine their ability on the battlefield. It greatly affects the military's image and hinders the development of national defense.

Combatting corruption in the military is not only a way to punish a handful of corrupt figures but to ensure the military's combat power and uncorroded nature.

The anti-decadence campaign will not destabilize the army's morale and public trust. On the contrary, it will only boost them.

There will be no sanctuary of impunity for anyone in the country's anti-corruption battle. "The campaign has already touched senior 'tigers' like Zhou Yongkang and Xu Caihou, and who will be left untouchable?" said a commentary by the PLA Daily last month.

For the army, anti-corruption is a war that cannot lose.

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