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Guideline to keep military spending on target

An Baijie
Updated: Oct 27,2014 9:18 AM     China Daily

Central military authorities pledged on Oct 26 to improve the efficiency of military spending so that “every cent can be spent on the knife blade”.

A pilot project has been initiated in the People’s Liberation Army headquarters and military commands under which five categories of expenses, including the purchase of military training equipment and the financial management of military hospitals, will be appraised and monitored, according to guidelines released by the PLA General Logistics Department.

The project, approved by the Central Military Commission, is aimed at putting military funds to best use, the guidelines said.

“A modern war is based on huge consumption and expenses, and military expenses must pursue high efficiency all the time,” the guidelines said.

The guidelines require evaluating military spending in terms of costs, the goals to be achieved and the contributions to fighting capacity.

Zhao Keshi, a member of the commission and head of the PLA General Logistics Department, told Xinhua News Agency that auditors will closely watch military funds, expenditures and assets. He said all economic activities of the military will be audited, and officers may not be promoted or retire without first going through the auditing process.

Xu Hui, a professor at the National Defense University, said management of military expenses has been tightened since the Communist Party of China put forward clean-governance rules in late 2012.

“The construction of many military buildings has halted in the last year since the central government banned the construction of office buildings,” he said, adding that the regulation on military vehicles has also been tightened amid the anti-graft campaign.

The key to the military reform is to enhance regulations for personnel and expenses, and more military funds will be used to improve the forces’ fighting capacity, he said

The strict clean-governance rules have also put a brake on the army’s tradition of excessive alcohol consumption at banquets, and many officers have moved out from the houses that they illegally occupied, for example, retired officers and their families who still lived in military compounds, he added.

China’s military authorities have taken unprecedented strict measures to fight corruption this year, with a number of senior military officers probed.

The latest case occurred on Oct 24, when Yang Jinshan, a lieutenant-general and former deputy head of the Chengdu Military Command, was probed for gravely violating Party discipline, an accusation that generally refers to corruption.

On June 20, Xu Caihou, former vice-chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, was expelled from the Party and transferred to military prosecutors for further investigation on bribery charges.

Gu Junshan, former deputy head of the PLA General Logistics Department, was prosecuted for embezzlement, bribery, misuse of State funds and abuse of power on March 31. Prosecutors seized four truckloads of assets, including a gold basin, a gold statue and numerous bottles of Moutai—a luxury brand of Chinese liquor—when they searched Gu’s house in his hometown in January last year, according to a report by Caixin magazine.

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