Sun, Dec 23, 2012 - Page 5 News List

China focuses on military in graft curb

SPARTAN LIVING:As part of its wider anti-corruption drive the Chinese government has instructed military officials to cut back on excessive spending and stamp out bribery

Reuters, BEIJING

China has banned senior military officers from holding alcohol-fueled banquets or from staying in luxury hotels when on official trips in the latest move by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平) to fight corruption, state media reported yesterday.

Newspapers reported that receptions will also no longer feature welcome banners, red carpets, flowers, honor guards, performances or souvenirs, the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC), which Xi oversees, has decreed.

Officers will have to cut back on both the number and length of inspection tours, overseas visits, meetings and reports, according to the new rules.

Speakers at meetings should avoid “empty talk,” while the use of vehicles equipped with sirens will be “rigorously controlled during official visits in order to prevent public disturbances.”

Additionally, commission officials will be required to ensure their spouses, children and subordinates do not take bribes.”

The rules echo similar demands made of party officials by Xi earlier this month.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which has shown no sign of giving up its tight grip on power, has struggled to contain public anger at a seemingly endless stream of corruption scandals, particularly when officials are seen as abusing their posts to amass wealth.

China intensified a crackdown on rampant corruption in the military in the late 1990s, banning the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from engaging in business activities. However, it has crept back in recent years due to a lack of transparency, checks and balances and moral decay.

A senior officer, Lieutenant General Gu Junshan (谷俊山), was sacked earlier this year in what Hong Kong media have said could be the biggest military corruption scandal since the communists swept to power in 1949, although details have not been officially announced.

Xi, who takes over from Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) at the annual meeting of parliament in March, warned shortly after becoming party leader that the country risked unrest if graft is not tackled.

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