Military to ‘align with CCDI anti-corruption campaign’
China's military authorities on Thursday took the rare step of releasing a list of 16 senior military officers who were investigated over corruption allegations in 2014.
The list, released by China Military Online, an online portal under the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), is seen by observers as a sign of authorities' increasing efforts to institutionalize the anti-corruption campaign and align the military's anti-graft efforts with the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).
The 16 officers, of corps level and above, were accused of "seriously violating Party discipline."
It was the first time that four of those on the list were named. The others had already been published by the media.
The four are Zhang Daixin, deputy commander of Heilongjiang Military Command, Fan Changmi, deputy political commissar of Lanzhou Military Command, Yu Daqing, deputy political commissar of the second artillery force, and Liu Zheng, deputy director of the General Logistics Department.
Chen Qiang, deputy commander of Unit 96301, was sentenced to lifetime imprisonment in May last year for bribe-taking and corruption.
Aside from Chen Qiang, whose information was kept confidential, the list includes one general, four lieutenant generals, nine major generals and one senior colonel.
The list was issued a day after the fifth plenary session of the CCDI of the Communist Party of China (CPC)drew to a close Wednesday.
For the first time, members of the military's top graft-buster, the Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Central Military Commission (CMCCDI) also attended the session.
Yue Gang, a military commentator and a former military officer, told the Global Times Thursday that these signs prove China's determination to institutionalize the ongoing anti-graft campaign.
"The CMCCDI traditionally operates independently with its own judicial system for military officers, and has been less open in revealing its corruption cases," Yue said. "These efforts will align the military's anti-graft efforts with the national body of the CCDI."
Liu Zheng and Fu Linguo, deputy directors of the General Logistics Department of the PLA, were both placed under investigation.
According to news portal caixin.com, Liu's residence was thoroughly searched by investigators and he is suspected of the "illegal conveying of benefits."
Liu was promoted to deputy director in December 2012 with the responsibility for overseeing barrack construction after his predecessor, Gu Junshan, was placed under investigation in 2011.
Gu was later charged with embezzlement, bribery, misuse of State funds and abuse of power.
The list also includes other names that had been previously released, including former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission Xu Caihou, and Yang Jinshan, deputy commander of the Chengdu Military Area Command.
Xu is the most senior military officer investigated in President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign. Xu was expelled from the CPC last June and is under investigation for alleged bribe-taking.
Many on the list are connected to each other, Hong Kong-based newspaper Ta Kung Pao reported.
Zhang Daixin, vice commander of the Heilongjiang Military Command, was previously attached to the 16th Group Army, for which Xu previously served as a political commissar.
PLA Major General Kun Lunyan told the Global Times the release of the report shows the importance of the PLA in the forefront of the nationwide crackdown on corruption.
It also proves the progress the military has made in making its internal management more transparent, Kun noted.
"Such transparency is crucial in ensuring the public's right to know and to supervise the army," retired army major general Luo Yuan told the Global Times.
Andrey Karneyev, deputy director of the Institute for Asian and African Studies at Moscow State University, told the Sputnik International that the Chinese government has shown great resolve in corruption crackdown, as the investigations reach areas that authorities had not previously emphasized.
During an inspection tour in Tianjin on Thursday, current CMC vice-chairman Fan Changlong, warned that the negative impacts in the wake of Xu's corruption case need to be eliminated amid the military's ongoing anti-corruption efforts.
"The army is still facing a grave challenge of deepening the crackdown on hidden 'tigers' and 'flies.' This reflects the deep-rooted corruption problems within the military, which requires heavy-handed gestures to serve as a warning against hidden corrupt officers," Yue further noted.
Yu Bencheng, former director of the Politics and Law Committee of the PLA's General Armaments Department, told the Global Times Thursday that the current reality has shown that revealing corruption will not harm the military's image, but will safeguard it.
The PLA has vowed to beef up its efforts against corruption this year. CMC Vice Chairman General Xu Qiliang said Wednesday that commissars, regiment commanders and more senior officers as well as those in corruption-prone sectors within the PLA would be the key targets of its crackdown.
Xu Qiliang's remarks come a day after Xi told the CCDI that he will keep up the intensity of his anti-graft campaign and urged officials to abide by both written and unwritten Party rules on discipline.