Home China Xi Jinping Highlights Issues In Chinese Military Amid Anti-Corruption Purge

Xi Jinping Highlights Issues In Chinese Military Amid Anti-Corruption Purge

Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping has identified “deep-seated problems” within the military’s politics, ideology, work style and discipline. This statement comes amidst an ongoing anti-corruption campaign within the military, as reported by state-run CCTV on Wednesday.

Addressing Corruption In The Military

At a military political work conference in Yanan, Xi emphasised that there must be no refuge for corrupt elements within the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). He urged military cadres, especially senior ones, to confront their flaws and engage in deep self-reflection and earnest rectifications to resolve problems at their roots.

Xi acknowledged the complexity of the political challenges facing the PLA, noting that the national, party and military situations are undergoing significant changes. He vowed to expand the measures for punishing both new and hidden forms of corruption and to strengthen the supervision of senior cadres.

Ongoing Anti-Corruption Efforts

Since last year, China’s military has experienced a sweeping anti-corruption purge. This has led to the removal of nine PLA generals and several aerospace defence industry executives from the national legislative body. Notably, this includes members from the strategic PLA Rocket Force, which oversees tactical and nuclear missiles. Additionally, several defence industry leaders have been dismissed from the country’s political advisory body.

Former Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu, who was ousted without explanation in October, had his name removed from the Central Military Commission’s website in February. Reports suggest he is under investigation for corrupt procurement of military equipment.

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The Timing

This week’s conference was the first of its kind since 2014, marking the anniversary of a pivotal meeting that solidified Mao Zedong’s control over the Red Army, the PLA’s precursor. The timing of this conference is significant as it precedes the long-delayed Third Plenum, a key Communist Party meeting focused on economic reforms and the formal removal of disgraced members. The dates for this meeting have yet to be announced, and both Li Shangfu and ousted former foreign minister Qin Gang remain central committee members.

Xi’s Vision For The Military

The ongoing purges are a setback for Xi, who has invested heavily in modernising the PLA with the goal of creating a “world-class” military by 2050. This vision is becoming increasingly critical as military tensions in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait escalate. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has led a broad anti-corruption crackdown across the Communist Party and government officials, with the PLA being a primary focus.

China’s defence ministry reiterated last year its commitment to eradicating corruption within its ranks, underscoring the importance of integrity and accountability in achieving Xi’s ambitious military objectives.

With inputs from Reuters