PLA chiefs face barrage of criticism

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 May, 2005, 12:00am

The official mouthpiece of the People's Liberation Army has berated some commanders for wasting resources on self-serving projects at the expense of preparing the military for combat readiness.

In unusually blunt language, the PLA Daily said such behaviour had become endemic and amounted to a dereliction of duty which must be immediately rectified.

'The departure from the task of boosting fighting capabilities has led to the compulsive engagement in activities that are self-serving and equate to the settling of political accounts,' said the essay, which was published in the newspaper yesterday and featured prominently on the Xinhua website.

Written by a centre under the National Defence University that specialises in the study of political ideology, the essay cited as the basis for its argument a directive by President Hu Jintao that science should serve as the foundation for the military's development.

'Current and future resources are extremely valuable,' the article said.

'They must be used carefully to improve military development and be consolidated to raise the effectiveness of fighting capabilities.

'Any actions that betray the improvement of combat readiness are a serious waste of limited resources and cannot be forgiven.'

An example of such excesses was the organising of 'meaningless' ceremonial events involving departments of all levels.

It said such ceremonies were used to further personal political agendas instead of focusing on combat readiness, and tied up valuable resources and manpower.

The money wasted on such activities was not insignificant and weakened the military's ability to face conflict, the article said.

It gave a strong reminder to commanders to return to their responsibility of improving combat readiness, warning they must be determined and disciplined to achieve this goal.

Any deviation from this task and indulgence in self-serving activities was the equivalent of 'eating next year's food this year' and 'killing the chicken that lays the egg'.

'The only political achievement should be the raising of combat capabilities which is the only true implementation of the scientific development principle.'

While corruption and inefficiency have been long-standing problems recognised within the PLA, military analysts said public discussion of them was a sign of its determination to boost capabilities.

'Such airing of its dirty laundry shows the PLA is making an honest attempt to be a better fighting force,' said one expert.