The People's Liberation Army yesterday established an audit work steering group aimed at eradicating corruption among troops, military media reported.
Defence spending has been maintained at a double-digit growth rate for most of the past two decades and would rise by 11.2 per cent this year to at least 670.3 billion yuan (HK$823.15 billion).
In January, a senior army officer was sacked after being implicated in 'economic problems', a euphemism for corruption, according to sources in Beijing.
The first meeting of the steering group, chaired by General Logistics Department chief General Liao Xilong , was convened yesterday, the PLA Daily reported online.
Liao said the audit group had been set up under the auspices of the Central Military Commission and its chairman, President Hu Jintao , adding that the committee would strengthen China's military might and fight corruption.
Liao said construction projects, management of real estate proceeds, large scale procurement and medical services would receive most of the auditors' attention. The committee would also keep a watch over the cost of defence preparation projects, military training, equipment development and hi-tech military forces.
'Thoughts and actions must be united to the decisions and instructions made by Chairman Hu and the Central Military Commission.'
In a meeting with National People's Congress deputies from the PLA last month, Hu called on the military to safeguard social stability and the loyalty of troops ahead of the party's key congress this autumn.
Some retired military officials said the speech appeared to be aimed at urging senior PLA leaders to ensure - at the very least - that their actions and words were consistent with those of the party leadership.
One of Liao's deputies, Lieutenant General Gu Junshan , was reported by state media in February to have 'departed' from his post, without elaboration.
Sources in Beijing told the South China Morning Post that he was taken away by investigators from the military's disciplinary watchdog a day after his last public appearance, at a Spring Festival reception for military veterans on January 18.
The total amount, in yuan, to which defence spending is expected to rise this year, representing an increase of 11.2 per cent over last year