China to probe army spending in corruption crackdown: Report

China to probe army spending in corruption crackdown: Report
Chinese People's Liberation Army cadets conduct bayonet drills at the PLA's Armoured Forces Engineering Academy in Beijing.

BEIJING - China's ruling Communist Party will launch a year-long probe into the incomes of military staff, state media said Thursday, following revelations of widespread graft in its armed forces.

Party leaders have described corruption as a key threat to China's military modernisation campaign, which has seen double digit increases in the army budget for more than a decade.

China's Central Military Commission, headed by President Xi Jinping, will conduct an "investigation of all military personnel", the state-run Global Times said.

The audit will be overseen by the head of the army's general logistics department Zhao Keshi, and will look into "all cash flows, receipts and expenses" to find evidence of embezzlement, said official army media according to the report.

The investigation will be "will be far reaching and may involve conflicts of interest", it cited Zhao as saying.

Xi heads the military and the Communist Party and has vowed a crackdown against endemic corruption, an issue that has long drawn widespread public anger in China.

China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) said last month it launched investigations into 16 senior officers at corps level and above in 2014.

Top Chinese military officer Gu Junshan was formally charged with corruption last year after he was exposed as owning dozens of homes, state media reported.

Officials seized "a gold boat, a gold wash basin and a gold statue of Mao Zedong" along with "crates of expensive liquor" from one of Gu's residences, reports said at the time.

Xi's campaign also led last year to the ousting of Xu Caihou, a former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission.

But the Communist Party has not introduced reforms such as official asset declaration or independent courts and media, and critics have said that the anti-graft drive is politically motivated.

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