China military says army yet to fully embrace rule of law

BEIJING - China's armed forces, the largest in the world, have yet to become a military which fully follows the law, its official newspaper said on Tuesday, underscoring the problem of rooting out deeply-seated corruption.

Weeding out graft in the military is a top goal of President Xi Jinping, chairman of the Central Military Commission, which controls China's 2.3 million-strong armed forces.

Serving and retired Chinese military officers have said military graft is so pervasive it could undermine China's ability to wage war, and dozens of senior officers have been taken down.

In a front page commentary, the People's Liberation Army Daily said that the concept of rule of law had yet to fully take root. "At present, the laws and rules system for our military has basically been formed, but the concept of rule of law and the transformation of ways of behaving has yet to be completed," it said.

Bottlenecks have formed that are preventing the military's modernisation, it said, including what it termed "paying attention to experience and not paying attention to the law".

The Communist Party committees - the ones which exercise the real control in the military - must avoid the situation where only one person makes the decisions, and that any decisions they make are legal, the paper said.

The more advanced the military becomes, the more it needs to follow the law, it added.

The logistics department has been particularly problematic for the People's Liberation Army.

Lieutenant General Gu Junshan, who had been deputy director of the department, is suspected of selling hundreds of positions. He was charged with corruption last year.

Xi is also waging a broader campaign against corruption in general, vowing to take down powerful "tigers" as well as lowly"flies".