Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

China warned on corruption [The Age]


‘Red Princeling (reference to the offspring of party elders or retired generals) General Liu Yuan, sometimes depicted as the hardliner son of Liu Shaoqi (annointed successsor to Mao Zedong) is no stranger to ‘do or die’ scenarios. Will he be the public ‘executor’ of China’s 52 unacceptable practices?

Last year in 2011, he pressed for ‘a major shake-up of Chinese politics, including allowing open debate and ushering in a form of democracy within one-party rule.’

Here he warns of corruption so deep and widespread in the armed forces that it threatens not just the PLA, but the wider Communist Party as well.

Liu Yuan is the current political commissar of the General Logistics department (his previous post was at the  Academy of Military Sciences  军事科学研究院 of the PLA 2005-2011) and believed to be politically close to Xi Jinping, China’s upcoming leader (see Liu Yuan: Archetype of a “Xi Jinping Man” in the PLA?).

In some measures, what he says, carries a useful frame of reference indicative of China’s next big moves.

He has reportedly accused Communist Party leaders of “betrayal”, and has been a proponent of more open debate within the party.

Rare: few senior military figures have the wide berth to speak out on publicly on domestic politics.

This number grows, and that itself is noteworthy. See – ‘Princeling’ General Attracts Notice with Criticism of Party (Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2011)

– – –

China warned on corruption
John Garnaut
Source – The Age, published January 19, 2012

General Liu Yuan is on the attack against corruption in the millitary. Photo – The Age

A RISING star of the People’s Liberation Army has promised a ”do-or-die” fight against powerful corrupt generals, bringing military politics to the fore in the middle of a critical leadership transition.

General Liu Yuan, son of former president Liu Shaoqi, warned corruption had grown so deep and widespread in the armed forces that it threatened the existence of both the PLA and the Communist Party.

”I’d rather risk losing my position than refrain from fighting corruption to the end,” General Liu told officers in his recent Chinese New Year address. ”No matter how high one’s position or how powerful their background, I will see it through,” he said, according to sources familiar with the speech.

General Liu is Political Commissar of the General Logistics Department, a sprawling, lucrative bureaucracy that handles big contracts in land, housing, food, finance and services.

He told his officers corruption in his department was ”huge” and ”visible”.

A serious corruption campaign in the military could alter a tense balance of factional power involving President Hu Jintao, his predecessor Jiang Zemin and the anointed successor Xi Jinping.

A close supporter said General Liu had the backing of several top leaders and also the PLA General Political Department, for a fight others were too politically weak or financially compromised to lead.

”Liu Yuan is the one who dares confront the tough with toughness,” he said.

The source said the speech suggested General Liu would produce a scalp at least as high-ranking as former railway minister, Liu Zhijun, by the middle of the year.

General Liu’s eyes are firmly fixed on a place in the Central Military Commission, possibly as vice-chairman to the incoming Mr Xi.

Chinese New Year is traditionally the time when high-ranking officers and generals relax with their families, bestow gifts on patrons and count the contents of thick red envelopes collected from subordinates.

But General Liu promised to immediately arrest anybody caught giving or receiving such bribes, which can easily add up to millions of yuan for high-ranking officers.

He told his officers any benefits should be reserved for junior soldiers and retirees.

The last serious military corruption purge was against deputy commander of the navy Admiral Wang Shouye, whose arrest was made in 2005 and announced six months later.

Hong Kong media reports claimed the admiral was brought down by a mistress – he had five, according to one report – and stole 160 million yuan ($A24 million). At the time, the PLA’s Liberation Daily said the PLA’s two historic tasks were fighting wars and eradicating corruption, but little action has been visible since.

Tai Ming Cheung, an expert on the PLA at the University of California, San Diego, said Chinese authorities established an anti-corruption centre late last year and showed concern about the problem.

”There has been hope that [large pay rises] would lead to less corruption, but given the power and special privileges that the PLA enjoys within Chinese society, the structural incentives for corrupt practices remain prevalent,” Dr Cheung said.

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Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Corruption, Government & Policy, Peaceful Development, Politics, Reform, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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