Corruption in the Chinese military, which may include officers who drive luxury cars, live in opulent homes and pay for vacations with public funds, undermines the army’s effectiveness, a retired major general wrote in a commentary.
Corruption hurt China more than a century ago, when its modern naval fleet was defeated by Japan, Major General Luo Yuan wrote in the Chinese version of the state-owned Global Times newspaper today. The newspaper is owned by the Communist Party’s official People’s Daily.
“Combat effectiveness is more undermined by corruption than anything,” Luo wrote. “It is hard to imagine that a corrupt army can vanquish the enemy and win victory.”
The People’s Liberation Army has the world’s second-biggest defense budget after the U.S., and China is expected to announce its planned military spending for 2013 next week on the eve of an annual session of its national parliament. Last year the government said it would spend 670.3 billion yuan ($107.6 billion) on its military in 2012 and the country commissioned its first aircraft carrier.
Luo doesn’t have an operational command in the PLA and comments on foreign policy and the military through his position as vice president of the China Strategic Culture Promotion Association. He set up a microblog on Sina Corp.’s Weibo earlier this month.
— With assistance by Michael Forsythe, and Henry Sanderson