But from the start, there are obvious problems. From Times of India:
Roderic Broadhurst, a professor of criminology at Australian National University who studies corruption in China, said he was sceptical about the plan, particularly if the audits were not made public.
“The absence of transparency will be a major limitation, as it is in all other aspects of oversight of guardians,” he said.
The term is “guardians” because the duty of the Chinese military is not to protect the people, but rather maintain the Communist party’s grip on power (a major difference from western armies).
Despite the obvious conflict of interest involved in auditing the arm charged with keeping you in power, there’s also the hypocrisy of Communist Party officials calling the military corrupt.
Reports out today about something called “grey money” paint a staggering picture of income inequality between the common worker and the party elite.
Grey money is undeclared income, and in a country with little regulation like China, there’s a bunch of it.
CSER researcher Wang Xiaolu, writing in Caixin magazine, said grey income reached 6.2 trillion renminbi (about $US1 trillion) in 2011, or about 12% of GDP, based on a survey of 5,344 families in urban areas that was completed in 2012.
It remains to be seen if the Chinese government is serious about its crackdown on military corruption. Beijing has started many of these crackdowns in the past, only to come up short.
As if to exemplify income inequality, in 2011, the same year as the study on grey money, a Chinese citizen parked a gold-plated Infinite G37 in a no-parking zone and left it to get towed. And just days ago, a red-gold Ferrari was spotted in Beijing.
Expensive cars have been a bane to Chinese officials in recent years. Last year the high-visibility death of a rising star’s son in a Ferrari crash caused a very public shaming, and an even more public demotion.
Military officers have acknowledged the corruption problem on their side of the aisle though.
Gen. Liu Yuan who runs the logistics arm is a “princeling” with “privileged informal networks across military ranks and the civilian side of the party-state,” writes John Garnaut of Foreign Policy.
Liu said in a recent speech, “Only our own corruption can destroy us and cause our armed forces to be defeated without fighting.”
Powerful words of criticism in public are rare in China.
So the reason for Broadhurst’s scepticism is obvious: How likely is a general like Liu to allow his military to undergo audits from the likes of “grey money” government officials?
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