PLA brooks no corrupt figures

Updated: 2014-11-28 19:56


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BEIJING - The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is getting tougher on corruption, reflecting the Party's resolution to "purify" the army.

Currently, the military watchdog is conducting an investigation into suspected violations of law and discipline of "some PLA members" as the military digs deep into the anti-corruption drive, said a Ministry of National Defense spokesman on Thursday.

While the spokesman did not disclose who is under investigation, the PLA Daily ran a front page commentary on Friday, stressing the need to "eliminate graft at its early stage."

Duty crimes are the most serious type of corruption and are the root of the PLA's current unhealthy work style, the commentary said, urging prevention of job-related crimes in key sectors.

With great power comes with great corruption risks. Too many temptations and traps surround official posts in China, which become high risks if officials don't have self-discipline.

The cases of former Central Military Commission (CMC) Vice Chairman Xu Caihou and Gu Junshan, former deputy head of the PLA general logistics department, harmed the military's reputation. Resolutely dealing with graft cases reflected the Communist Party of China (CPC)'s determination to build a clean army.

President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and CMC chairman, called for serious reflection on Xu's case. Xu confessed to taking bribes, military prosecutors announced last month.

Lessons from Xu's case deserve reflection and the unfavorable influence of the case must be thoroughly cleared away.

The PLA must be run in accordance with law and discipline, which lays a solid foundation for a strong army. The Chinese army has the tradition of enforcing strict discipline during its 87 years of history, but it is far from achieving comprehensive rule of law.

The army's management relies heavily on commander experience. This has made it difficult for the PLA to shake off its practice of "rule of man," which was deeply rooted in China's feudal rule for thousands of years. It is no easy task to fundamentally change the situation from "rule of man" to "rule of law."

The lack of external inspection and supervision of the military gives rise to problems such as squandering, graft and loopholes in the military's legal system have become lucrative opportunities for personal gains.

Top military leaders are no exception. Xu was found to have taken advantage of his position to assist the promotions of others, accepting huge bribes both personally and through his family. He sought profits for others in exchange for "extremely large" bribes, according to a statement from the military procuratorate.

The PLA has stepped up oversight of its officials since last year, part of the CPC's campaign to root out extravagance and corruption. Officers' daily habits, such as gift giving, vehicle use and travel are also subject to close scrutiny.

All officers, no matter their rank, must follow rules. The army should be built under the rule of law and power should be shut in a "cage of regulations" as irregularities will destroy PLA's combat capability.