NewsXi's crackdown: No mercy for corruption in the Chinese military

Xi's crackdown: No mercy for corruption in the Chinese military

Xi Jinping, president of China
Xi Jinping, president of China
Images source: © Getty Images | Bloomberg

9:02 AM EDT, June 20, 2024

The People's Liberation Army must demonstrate absolute loyalty to the Communist Party of China (CPC), and there can be no place for corruption, said the country's leader Xi Jinping, as quoted on Thursday by state television CCTV.

"We must make it clear that the barrels of guns must always be in the hands of those who are loyal and dependable to the party," said Xi, the general secretary of the CPC, who also serves as the chairman of the Central Military Commission and the supreme commander of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), on Monday.

These words were spoken during Wednesday's conclusion of a political work conference of the Central Military Commission (CMC) in Yan'an, located in the northwest province of Shaanxi.

We must make it clear that there is no place for any corrupt elements in the military, Xi emphasized, addressing high-ranking commanders.

"Purge" in the army

He added that the army's top leadership must eliminate "nests of corruption and conditions conducive to it" by improving the distribution of power, operational control, and balance mechanisms. He proposed "enrich the toolbox for punishing new types of corruption and hidden corruption" and strengthening comprehensive oversight over high-ranking officers regarding their performance and use of power.

Xi did not mention specific individuals in his speech. Still, as noted by the Hong Kong newspaper "South China Morning Post," he delivered it after a wave of purges in the PLA since last year, which involved the removal of dozens of high-ranking members from their positions.

Former Defense Minister Li Shangfu was suddenly dismissed in October, with no reason ever announced. In December, nine senior generals were removed from positions in the Chinese parliament, including the top commanders of the rocket forces overseeing Beijing's nuclear arsenal. This also included the former commander of the Air Force and several CMC officials responsible for arms procurement and development. In their cases, the reasons for their removal also remain unexplained.

Since taking power in 2012, Xi has launched a widespread anti-corruption campaign among CPC, government, and army members. He stated that ensuring party discipline and restoring its absolute leadership in the PLA ranks, which some observers believe might be achieved through purges, is the "political guarantee" the military needs to achieve its goal of becoming a "world-class" army by 2050.

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