China’s anti-corruption storm sweeps Chinese military

Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping

Mao’s saying “Political power comes out of gun barrels” is regarded by some as a talented invention due to ignorance of Chinese history.

I explained in my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements: “For over two thousand years, since the fall of the Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 206 BC), ‘fighting to catch the deer on the Central Plains (zhongyuan zhu lu)’ has been the major political game in Chinese history. ‘Deer’ (lu) means the state power or the throne, ‘the Central Plains’ mean the major part of the world because in ancient time Chinese people believed that China was the only major state in the world; while ‘fighting to catch the deer’ means fighting for state power or the throne.”

Mao’s saying is but a modernised wording of the game. The civil war between the CCP and KMT in China was but one more such game. It indicates the vital importance for an emperor to control the military.

As a result, usually a new emperor does not dare to upset powerful generals until he has firmly set up his own power base.

Now, in addition to his austerity campaign that has deprived PLA high officers of many perks such as luxurious banquets, expensive alcohol, pomp and other extravagance, Xi Jinping has brought his anti-corruption storm to the military and caused lots of casualty.

Does the new leader Xi Jinping dare to further upset the military? He does.

In its report titled “China army says roots out ‘illicit’ apartments in graft fight”, SCMP says:

China’s People’s Liberation Army has discovered in a corruption probe that its troops “illicitly kept” more than 8,000 apartments and 25,000 vehicles, state media said on Tuesday.

But those who benefited will apparently escape punishment and only have to give them up.

President Xi Jinping, who as chairman of the Central Military Commission is also China’s top military official, has called corruption a threat to the Communist Party’s very survival, and vowed pursue powerful “tigers” as well as lowly “flies”.

China intensified a crackdown on rampant corruption in the military in the late 1990s, banning the PLA from engaging in business. But graft has intensified in recent years due to a lack of transparency and checks and balances.

The PLA said its probe had “uncovered more than 8,100 apartments and more than 25,000 vehicles kept illicitly by its personnel”, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

There was, however, no mention of punishment.

“Various PLA units have promised to return illegal housing and eliminate secretaries that were not allowed; they have also vowed to strictly regulate the use of military vehicles,” Xinhua said.

“PLA units have held criticism and self-criticism meetings and submitted reports to echo a Communist Party of China drive to clean up undesirable work styles such as … bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance.”

This is not the first time the military has featured in Xi’s new anti-graft campaign.

The military began replacing licence plates on its cars and trucks in April to crack down on drivers taking advantage of military plates to run red lights, drive aggressively and fill up on free fuel.

Military plates enable drivers to avoid road tolls and parking fees and are often handed out to associates as perks or favours.

I pointed out in my book that the political system in China now is a party dynasty, which I refer to as the “CCP Dynasty.” It differs from China’s traditional dynasties as it belongs to a party instead of a family and it is not hereditary.

Xi Jinping, though appointed the top posts of the general secretary and the chairman of the Central Military Commissions, is not the emperor.

The real emperor now is Jiang Zemin, the core of CCP’s third generation of collective leadership.

Since the CCP takeover, there have been three emperors in China: Mao Zedong, who I regard as the emperor of Mao Dynasty as he was above the CCP when he acted as an emperor in his later years; Deng Xiaoping, who was regarded as the paramount leader able to revitalise China’s reform alone in 1992 by his Southern Tour when conservatism prevailed; and Jiang Zemin, who keeps control of the majority in CCP Politburo Standing Committee through his protégés even after his retirement. The latter two are emperors of the CCP Dynasty set up by Deng Xiaoping.

Evidence of the Dynasty can be found in Zhao Ziyang’s secret memoir. There is detailed description in my book but it is too long to quote here.

In the section “Signs of Jiang Zemin’s Intention to Have Xi Jinping Succeed Him as the Core” in Chapter 16 of my book, I describe the signs indicating Jiang’s choice of Xi as his successor. However, even with Jiang’s support, it is not easy for Xi Jinping to really establish his position as the next core.

I described in my book the difficulties in Jiang’s succession to Deng as the core and how Tiananmen protesters and the US helped Jiang and how Jiang applied the art for being an emperor to establish his position as the core.

Xi has also to overcome similar difficulties and prove his ability to be the dominating emperor by such ability.

His high-handed measures to clear the military of extravagance and corruption and enforce discipline are certainly a way to establish his authority in the military.

If Xi is able to find talented professional generals with moral integrity as his protégés, it will not only be much easier for him to establish his position as the core, but also make Chinese military really strong.

Source: Reuters “China army says roots out ‘illicit’ apartments in graft fight”
Source: Chan Kai Yee “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”


Categories: Politics & Law

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8 replies

  1. Interesting that China is cracking down on the apartment ownership. In Hong Kong owning property while living in public housing is the city’s unofficial retirement funding scheme. Please think about visiting this cool story about Richard Koo



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