When dozens of senior officers are punished for bribing their way into promotions, you know that the Chinese military has a corruption problem.
More than 70 serving and retired senior People’s Liberation Army officers have been demoted for pay-for-promotion, according to the South China Morning Post. The list includes a full general and two lieutenant generals.
The officers were connected to former PLA chief of joint staff Fang Fenghui. Fang was convicted in February of taking bribes, and sentenced to life in prison. In turn, Fang was connected to Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, former vice-chairmen of the Central Military Commission, which oversees China’s military on behalf of the Communist Party. Guo and Xu had been earlier punished for corruption.
Most of the demoted senior officers were political commissars or held logistical positions, a retired naval officer told the Post. “The latest penalties were lenient,” he said. “None of them were sentenced to jail because they were seen as underlings of Fang, who was Guo and Xu’s protégé.”
“Among the officers, 44 of them belonged to the Beijing Military Command where Fang was the commander from 2007 to 2012,” another source told the Post. ““They were found guilty of bribing Fang in exchange for promotions. Others were former subordinates who offered Fang bribes when he was promoted to chief of joint staff.”
China’s military has come a long way since the mass peasant armies of the Cold War. Its doctrine has embraced Western-style high-tech war, and its weaponry, from stealth fighters to missiles, is edging closer to American capabilities.