Scores of PLA officers punished

Updated: 2015-01-30 05:33

By ZHAO LEI(China Daily)

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DECK: Military auditors have targeted thousands since the start of 2013, report says

More than 200 senior People's Liberation Army officers have been reprimanded, demoted or removed from their posts for problems exposed by military auditors, PLA Daily reported on Thursday.

A total of 4,024 officers with the rank of lieutenant colonel or above, including 82 generals, have been the subject of scrutiny by PLA auditors since January 2013, the newspaper said.

Of these, 21 were removed from their posts, 144 were demoted and 77 reprimanded and asked to correct the problems that were discovered, the report said.

It added that another 61 officers were given poor evaluations because their units were found to have many financial problems.

More than 820 such problems at 180 military units were uncovered by auditors, who focused on infrastructure construction projects and the development of major weapons.

Auditors also found 216 clues that led to suspected corruption or other misconducts. They reported these to PLA disciplinary inspectors or prosecutors, resulting in the formal investigation of more than 60 officers and internal punishment for nearly 160 service members.

The number of clues uncovered by PLA auditors last year was more than the total reported in the three decades before 2014.

Auditors prevented as much as 12.1 billion yuan ($1.9 billion) in military funds from being misused or wasted.

About 12 million yuan distributed irregularly to officers as subsidies was recovered.

Nearly 19 billion yuan was cut from construction projects and administrative spending, while a considerable proportion of the money saved was invested on improving training operations, the report said.

Auditors also helped the military to save about 6.7 billion yuan that would have been charged unreasonably by local governments, according to PLA Daily.

The newspaper quoted an unidentified military prosecutor as saying that more than 90 percent of criminal cases within the PLA are related to infrastructure construction, property development, equipment purchasing as well as personnel and fund management.

In early November, the Central Military Commission placed the PLA Auditing Office under its direct management. The office had been administered by the PLA General Logistics Department.

Last year, 15 high-ranking officers including Xu Caihou, former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Gu Junshan, former deputy head of the PLA General Logistics Department, were placed under investigation on suspicion of corruption.

Gong Fangbin, a senior colonel and political education researcher at PLA National Defense University, said a powerful auditing system will help the PLA with its anti-graft efforts.

Hou Xiaohe, also a senior colonel and a strategy expert at the university, said corruption in the PLA is particularly harmful because it affects morale and combat capability.

Xu Guangyu, a retired major general who is a senior adviser to the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said: "If generals fill their pockets with embezzled money while ordinary soldiers sleep in ill-constructed camps, who will fight for the country when needed?"

Mo Jingxi contributed to this story.