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Chinese Defense Professor Says Army Closing Corruption Loopholes

Aug. 2 (Bloomberg) -- China’s army is closing loopholes that allowed for corruption and led people to become unhappy with the military, a professor at the National Defense University said in remarks posted online.

Corruption is a problem for the whole of Chinese society, yet people have higher expectations for the army since it has to fight wars, Gong Fangbin wrote on the People’s Daily website yesterday, in response to questions submitted by readers. The National Defense University is part of the People’s Liberation Army.

“You are fighting, national security is on your shoulders,” Gong said, according to a transcript posted on the website. “If you get into problems, how can you fight?”

China’s President Xi Jinping has pledged to crack down on corruption and launched a yearlong “mass line” campaign in June to require Communist Party officials to pay greater attention to the people. Gong’s comments come as the military undergoes a modernization program that will see defense spending rise 10.7 percent this year, with Xi saying the army must be prepared to fight wars.

While former Premier Wen Jiabao called corruption the greatest danger to the party, graft within the military is rarely publicly discussed. State media regularly stress the army’s role in serving the party instead of the state.

China should unswervingly stick to the party’s leadership over the army and resist the military’s de-politicization, Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, wrote in the Communist Party journal Qiushi yesterday.

Cases of corruption such as Gu Junshan, a former vice minister of the general logistics department, have caused people to be dissatisfied, Gong said, without giving further details. Gu left his position, the official Xinhua News Agency said in February 2012, without giving a reason. He was arrested on suspicion of corruption last year, the New York Times reported in November.

This is the first mention of Gu’s case publicly by a military person since he left his post, Caixin magazine reported today.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Henry Sanderson in Beijing at hsanderson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at rmathieson3@bloomberg.net

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