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PLA vows to root out abuse of power

Zhao Lei
Updated: Sep 25,2014 9:39 AM     China Daily

Group exposes irregular use of housing, vehicles by senior officers

The People’s Liberation Army has geared up its fight against corruption and abuse of power, requesting that officers hand in any houses or cars they are using in violation of regulations.

A leading group responsible for tackling graft and misconduct in the Chinese military has recently exposed a host of irregular occupancies or use of PLA-owned houses and vehicles by officers, and overemployment in large units, PLA Daily reported on Sept 24, citing an instruction issued by the group.

The exposure of the irregularities was intended for military personnel rather than the public, with the aim of warning officers that the anti-graft campaign would not cease until all corruption was rooted out and eliminated, an insider close to the matter said.

The instruction asked disciplinary inspectors to “strictly and aggressively” enforce regulations and discipline in retrieving irregularly occupied houses and irregularly held cars. It also requested that the benefits given to retired senior officers or family members of deceased senior officers be checked and that excessive treatment be abolished, the report added.

The PLA launched a campaign in May targeting overuse of houses, cars and personnel, with the focus on violation of housing regulations, a problem that has long haunted the military and resulted in a great number of complaints from low-ranking officers.

Generally, PLA officers are provided a house after being promoted to a battalion commander or equivalent post and marrying. The house must be returned to the unit if the occupant retires from the military, changes service units or dies. However, a considerable proportion of young, eligible officers have to wait a long time for such housing because many occupants refuse to hand over their apartments even after resigning from the PLA.

Although the campaign is addressing the problem, it is still far from fulfilling the high expectations of the top leaders and grassroots servicemen, the instruction said, urging that more attention to be paid to the effort.

Leaders of military units must take the lead to assist inspectors with their handling of tough cases, the statement said, noting that failure to accomplish the campaign’s goals will lead to punishment.

Those who are found hiding extra housing or official cars, or who decline to return them before the given time, must be seriously disciplined, it said.

In addition, the group ordered that leaders of each PLA unit should make public their housing status, the use of official cars and family members’ jobs for scrutiny.

According to earlier reports, the PLA will organize an overall check to monitor the progress of the campaign in October.

For its part, the PLA General Logistics Department issued a set of guidelines on Sept 23 on the management and use of PLA-owned land, intensifying the approval procedures for land transfers and expropriations.

More apartments will be built for retirees from the military and veterans permanently injured during operations, the department said.

“As far as I know, the house and car vacating campaign will last a long period rather than the previous ones that were often short-lived,” said an officer with the PLA ground force who refused to be identified.

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