Tuesday, April 30, 2013

China cracks down on military use of luxury cars

Corruption has been seeing as a huge threat to the Communist Party’s legitimacy, and could lead to the collapse of the Party and the downfall of the state. It’s also a serious threat to China's future economic stability. The Chinese military (the People's Liberation Army) is also experiencing serious problems. For example, you can always see civilians drive expensive sports cars or other luxury vehicles with military or armed police license plates. These vehicles often violate traffic regulations but do not get pulled over by the police, and they do not need to pay for the toll road. Abuse of military license plates is the most visible forms of military corruption in China. Also, ranking military officers always abuse their privileges to enrich their families and lord it over ordinary citizens. With its vast network of subsidies, tax exemptions, and allowances, the PLA is commonly held to be rife with corruption. Jobs and promotions are frequently acquired through bribery, with those governing responsibility for housing and other budgetary matters commanding the highest prices.

The new leader, Xi Jinping, after he took over the reins of Communist Party, he has listed the fight against corruption as his number one priority. Since last November, he launched an austerity campaign for party and government officials.

The latest one is to issue the new guidelines and new military plates by the Central Military Commission. It has banned the use of military license plates on expensive cars, According to the new regulations, military plates are now prohibited on Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lincoln, Cadillac, Volkswagen Phaeton, Bentley, Jaguar and Porsche models. SUVs including the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7 were also singled out. Put more broadly, the plates cannot be used on cars with engines larger than three liters, or a value over $73,000. To accomplish the change, the army will issue new plates designed to stop counterfeiters, and collect all previously-issued plates.

Corruption has existed in Chinese history from its beginning, and corruption has always been a major cause of rebellion and the replacement of dynasties in China. For example, the major reason that the CCP was able to defeat the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the civil war is the large-scale corruption in the KMT, especially the corruption problem in the military. The Nationalist Army was initially better equipped and had superior numbers, but corruption damaged its popularity, limited its support base, and thus, they lost in the war. Therefore, history reminds the CCP's leaders that corruption could lead to the reduction of PLA’s capability, and the collapse of the Communist Party.

"The move is meant to crack down on the creation, sale and use of counterfeit military vehicle plates and root out loopholes in military vehicle management, so as to maintain social harmony, stability and the reputation of the military," state media said, quoting a statement issued by the agency.

We need to wait longer to see if this “clean plates campaign” will success finally. The similar anti-corruption campaign has been done before in the PLA, but the problem was still unsolved. With the serious corruption problem inside Chinese military, the PLA’s fight ability is questionable. Therefore, the “clean plates campaign” is a must-do move for the Chinese government to make the PLA strong.


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