Xi Jinping

PLA cuts back on pomp and ceremony

Extravagant displays for official visits reduced following Xi's call for end to wasteful welcomes

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 January, 2013, 3:58am

The People's Liberation Army says it has been reducing entertainment expenses and ostentatious displays for leaders' inspection visits following Communist Party chief Xi Jinping's recent call for cutbacks to pomp and ceremony.

The PLA Daily has carried a series of commentaries and reports since Sunday, highlighting some military units' achievements in a recent campaign against waste and corruption.

Meanwhile, in a high-level meeting yesterday involving the troops headquarters of politics, general staff, logistics and armament, the military's top brass urged senior officers to set examples in upholding disciplines and resisting corruption.

General Fan Changlong, the vice-chairman of PLA's decision-making Central Military Commission, said that building up a proper attitude within the army was an issue with overriding priority in terms of winning wars and maintaining its nature - listening to the order of the party exclusively, according to Xinhua.

Fan said that all levels of leading officers should remain cautious, humble and prudent, as well as keeping a close eye on their subordinates and relatives.

"All headquarters … should ensure meritocracy, fairness and eradicate corruption," Fan said.

Recent PLA Daily reports include budget cuts for leaders' inspection trips, the cancellation of unnecessary propaganda work and the abolition of some old army traditions.

"It's great not to need to put on a show!" a short commentary on the top of yesterday's front page said, referring to the army's response to Xi's calls to "stop extravagance" and "fight corruption" in the party and army.

Xi was made party chief and chairman of the party's Central Military Commission, which controls the PLA, following the party's 18th national congress in November.

"Once [when leaders visited our garrison], we used to make welcome banners, place flowers for decorations, clear the way, arrange banquets and many other entertainment works, which cost soldiers a lot of time and energy, ruining their enthusiasm for taking part in military drills."

Antony Wong Dong, president of the International Military Association in Macau, said he had doubts about whether the anti-waste campaign would last.

"Displays of grandeur have been a tradition advocated by both party and PLA leaders for decades," he said, adding that lower-level officials would still try to impress high-ranking visitors.

Dr Zeng Zhiping , a retired lieutenant colonel and military law expert at Nanchang Institute of Technology in Jiangxi , said the anti-waste and anti-corruption campaign would remain a "propaganda tactic" unless the army increased its transparency.