January 29, 2015 / 9:24 AM / 3 years ago

China to widen anti-graft inspections of armed forces

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s powerful Central Military Commission will widen anti-graft inspections of the country’s armed forces, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday, as part of Beijing’s sweeping campaign to weed out corruption.

Serving and retired military officers have said corruption is endemic in China’s armed forces and could even endanger the country’s ability to wage war.

Among the latest units to be targeted are the second artillery corps, which controls China’s nuclear missiles, the navy, air force and the paramilitary People’s Armed Police.

Inspections by the powerful commission, chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping, will target the military branches’ Communist Party committees, Yang Yujun, a spokesman for the Defence Ministry, said in a statement.

The inspections will take place from February to April.

The leadership under Xi has presided over an anti-graft campaign to shore up a ruling mandate shaken by suspicion that officials waste taxpayer money or use their positions for personal advantage.

Xi says corruption threatens the survival of the ruling party.

China has investigated several military officials as part of the corruption scandal of former top military officer Xu Caihou, the retired vice chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Yu Daqing, former deputy political commissar of the Second Artillery Corps, was put under investigation earlier this month.

Xi has worked to place his own men at the top of the military’s hierarchy. Soon after taking power, he promoted Wei Fenghe, commander of the Second Artillery Corps and member of the Central Military Commission, to full general.

Reporting by Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Jeremy Laurence

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