Tuesday, March 3, 2015

New transparency policy in Chinese military corruption cases?

On March 2, 2015, the Chinese Ministry of Defense announced that another 14 senior PLA officers were under investigation (this report lists the officers, one of whom has already been sentenced to life in prison), following a similar announcement in January (discussed in an earlier post on this blog).

These announcements prompted the author of this blogpost to do a bit of digging to find out why these lists of senior officers who have "fallen from their horses" (落马) (been removed for corruption) have been made public.  The answer seems to be found in the response set out below of Colonel Yang Yujun, spokesman for China's Ministry of Defense, at the Ministry of Defense's monthly press conference on January 29, 2015.
Question: In mid January, the PLA publicized 16 cases of corruptions involving high-ranking military officers at one stroke. What is the consideration behind such publicity? Will the military continue to keep the public updated on its anti-corruption campaign?
Answer: Since the 18th Party Congress, the Party Central Committee, the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the Communist Party of China and President Xi, with a strong sense of commitment to the cause of the Party and the military, and a clear-cut stance of zero-tolerance against corruption, have investigated and prosecuted a number of major corruption cases in the military. These actions have dealt a heavy blow to corrupt individuals in the military and have won whole-hearted support from the rank and files. 
Not long ago, we released information on the investigation and prosecution of major cases of corruption involving major-general and higher level officers in 2014. It demonstrated the substantial results the military achieved in its anti-corruption campaign and the firm determination of enforcing strict discipline throughout the Party and the military. 
Such publicity is conducive to deterring corrupt behavior in the military and forging a strong momentum in corruption prevention and punishment. It is also an act of responding to the public’s concern and showing the military’s sincere willingness to put itself under the scrutiny of the general public. Future cases of corruption in the military will be made public in accordance with relevant regulations and the process of investigation and prosecution, and in line with the principle of not endangering military secrets and not affecting the process of legal and disciplinary proceedings. 

We look forward to greater transparency in Chinese military legal proceedings, in line with the greater transparency being demanded of the Chinese civilian courts under its newly released 4th Five Year Reform Plan.

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