PLA to police itself for graft

Teams of corruption investigators expected to come up against culture of camaraderie

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, 11:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 November, 2013, 5:22am

The People's Liberation Army has set up an inspection mechanism to target decadence among leading officers, the Central Military Commission announced.

The move comes after President Xi Jinping , who chairs the commission, stressed an urgent need after the Communist Party's third plenum to reform army management. But the system could run into difficulties as officers will be asked to carry out inspections of their superiors, and the PLA has a strong culture of camaraderie, experts say.

The announcement was made by CMC Vice-Chairman General Xu Qiliang at a three-day training meeting for the special inspection groups that ended yesterday.

Xu said teams should conduct their work "systematically, strictly and lawfully" while co-operating with government disciplinary departments.

"High-level party committee units and their members - especially principal officials - should be the key targets of the inspection," Xu was quoted by Xinhua as saying. "[Inspection groups] should make clear that you are bearing the top mission endorsed by Chairman Xi, the CMC as well as the top leadership of the party."

The teams will be sent out by the end of the year.

Earlier Xinhua reports said the inspection mechanism would cover armed police.

The Communist Party's main Central Commission for Discipline Inspection regularly makes public the results of its checks on local governmental officials and state-owned enterprises.

However, PLA experts said military inspectors would face challenges when dealing with the army's culture of confidentiality and absolute obedience.

"The PLA's special traits would not allow the inspection groups to disclose, even just a small part, of the information they collect," said Professor Ni Lexiong , a Shanghai-based military expert. "Indeed, all the inspectors are coming from the army, meaning they will also face challenges and struggles when they are asked to check on their bosses, who decide promotions."

The appointments of the inspectors at the same meeting, but Xinhua gave neither their names nor their ranks.