PLA reveals 16 cases againt senior officers

PLA reveals 16 cases againt senior officers

IN AN unprecedented move underscoring President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption resolve, China's military has revealed, at one go, details of 16 disciplinary cases involving senior officers last year.

Analysts say it is the first time that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has disclosed so many cases all at once, breaking from its practice of announcing isolated cases, usually with scant details.

Said Shanghai-based military observer Ni Lexiong: "The PLA has always been keen on 'saving face' by suppressing negative reports of disciplinary problems.

"But now, it is clear that Xi is not afraid of losing face in order to ensure the party's survival in the long run. This move reflects that Xi is showing the utmost determination in fighting corruption."

Mr Xi vowed at a top-level meeting on Tuesday that there would be no let-up in the anti-graft campaign he mounted soon after taking power in 2012.

Purging political opponents and repairing the Communist Party's public image are seen as key reasons for the anti-corruption drive, which has nabbed 60 "tigers" or senior officials and 100,000 "flies" or low-ranking cadres in the past two years.

But there is reportedly resistance within the establishment to the campaign, which has hurt the income of officials and put their careers at risk.

The list published yesterday on the website of the PLA mouthpiece, Liberation Daily, includes retired Central Military Commission (CMC) vice-chairman Xu Caihou, who was investigated in March last year and expelled from the party in June.

Several cases were revealed for the first time, including one involving Lieutenant-General Liu Zheng, 60, the deputy director of the General Logistics Department, who was probed in November last year.

Another involves Lt-Gen Yu Daqing, 57, the deputy political commissar of the Second Artillery Corps, the PLA's strategic missile division, who was investigated last month.

Hong Kong-based analyst Willy Lam believes Mr Xi has been trying to weed out General Xu's allies and install his own supporters in key PLA posts.

Another prominent person on the list is Lanzhou Military Region's deputy political commissar, Lt-Gen Fan Changmi, 59, who was investigated last month, just five months after he was promoted to the job.

He is known to be an ally of retired CMC vice-chairman Guo Boxiong, who is reportedly another possible target.

But analysts feel it could be too early to tell if Lt-Gen Fan's downfall might signal that Gen Guo is next.

Beijing-based military expert Wang Xiangsui believes the focus should be on the diversity revealed by the cases in terms of posts and backgrounds.

"It is aimed at sending a message that no one within the PLA is safe if they are found to be corrupt," he said.

kianbeng@sph.com.sg

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