Chinese Military Clamps Down On Corruption
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Chinese Military Clamps Down On Corruption


Xi Jinping’s charge to fight corruption in China is making its way deeper into the People’s Liberation Army. On Thursday, China’s military said that it would clamp down on accountability processes and controls for the construction and sale of buildings for the PLA. The move is intended to promote “proper accounting and transparency for all financial transactions,” according to Reuters. These policies follow from broader attempts to regulate corruption within the Chinese military.

The latest rules require that revenue from the sale of military buildings should reach the military promptly and in full. Additionally, the approval process for new projects will grow in scope. The rules also warn that new building work should not stray from pre-approved plans in scope or size. The new rules were posted on the official PLA Daily and will go into effect on March 1.

“The approval process must be open and transparent and supervised effectively,” PLA Daily said, adding, “Make decisions in accordance with the law and effectively prevent corruption.” The report did not mention the size or scope of the military’s corruption problem, nor did it mention punishment for officers involved in corruption and the abuse of power.

Earlier this month, PLA Daily reported that Chinese authorities took action against 27,000 illegal occupants in military apartments over a seven-month period in 2013.

Attempts to fight corruption in the Chinese armed forces first began in earnest in the late-1990s, when PLA officers were banned from engaging in business directly. During the Jiang Zemin era, PLA involvement in civilian economic activity was seen as damaging to the military’s readiness and thus the central party leadership promoted divestment by the army from any non-military business ventures.

President Xi Jinping, who consolidated power last year after being appointed party General-Secretary in 2012, has made anti-corruption efforts a cornerstone of his domestic reform plans. Both high profile cases and broader policy reviews, such as that within the PLA, are part of what has been described as an effort to nab both “tigers and flies.” Among the former, many believe that Zhou Yongkang, a former Politburo Standing Committee member and former Minister of Public Security, could soon face trial for corruption. If true, he would be the highest ranking CCP member to ever face trial in PRC history. Ji Wenlin, the vice-governor of Hainan province with links to Zhou, is also under investigation for ”suspected serious violation of discipline and laws.”

Anti-corruption efforts within the PLA could be an effort by Xi, who is chairman of the Central Military Commission in addition to his role as president, to centralize power within China’s military apparatus. PLA Daily has noted Xi’s involvement in the past. ”President Xi personally approved plans…and demonstrated strong leadership in every important step and aspect,” it reported earlier this month.

The decision to stamp out corruption within the ranks of the PLA also has important strategic ramifications and has caused some anxiety for senior Chinese leaders. PLA General Liu Yuan told officers in the PLA that “no country can defeat China … only our own corruption can destroy us and cause our armed forces to be defeated without fighting.” Additionally, PLA Colonel Liu Mingfu claimed in a book that “the People’s Liberation Army has reached a stage in which its biggest danger and No. 1 foe is corruption.”

For other Diplomat discussions on Xi’s efforts to rein in the PLA, see here and here.

April 12, 2014 at 05:03

some comments say chinese are not dare to come and comment. That is why I am here.
Simply, I will say I can not find any facts or histroy in it. and every chinese is taught to be objective. I think this is the main reason we do not come. Generally speaking, Chinese are not talking tanks.

I bet you like this comment: China is very very weaker ! don’t let it bother you. don’t use Chinese goods because they are freaking.

February 25, 2014 at 20:20

The PLA wont tolerate the equally if not more so corrupt party officials performing clampdowns on them. This is just a song and dance to convince the people that something is being done and political purge all at once. Nothing lasting will come about this.

February 25, 2014 at 01:12

Don’t forget about another general of the pla. His name is gu and he had a mansion that worth several US dollars in western china.

Funny how chinese posters are not dare to come here and tell the readers how great china is. Why the silent?

February 23, 2014 at 15:35

The CCP’s monopoly on power combined with their lack or transparency to the Chinese public and outsiders means that corruption is too central CCP culture to ever be erased. All these clampdowns and just political purges and given the guise of ‘clampdowns’ to try and satisfy a dissatisfied Chinese public. At the same time Xi Jinping has stepped up censorship of both foreign and domestic journalists and intellectuals and released new laws to prosecute those who speak out of line. He threw out those foreign journalists and blocked the websites of the Wall street Journal and Huffington post domestically when they ran a report showing that he had acquired a fortune of at least 450 million.

February 21, 2014 at 10:28

Does this mean the PLA admirals and generals will drop using the PLA troops to make “Opium Runs” into the ‘Golden Triangle for them anymore?

February 21, 2014 at 06:44

Using the PLA to fight corruption is like using a neutered dog for a stud.

February 21, 2014 at 06:02

Going after the Praetorian Guard is a well known method to reduce the tenure of the President, Premier, and members of the Central Military Commission.

Fortunately, it is a “Chinese” crackdown, which will only affect the ones who are not in the Xi faction caught in the dragnet. Bo and Zhou’s faction will be bearing the brunt of the hits.

February 22, 2014 at 00:42

PLA General Liu Yuan – Why your former comrades keep accusing you’re an ARMY DESERTER during the Vietnam – China border war in 1979?

Did you took advantage of your father connection or bribed your way out of the war?

We suggest you to lead by example by start fighting corruption within your families first.

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