China’s public society is tainted by corruption, and the never-ending ‘war against corruption’

Rocket Force, which played a leading role in China's 'military modernization', has been eroded by corruption
Large-scale purge of Rocket Force and defense industry leaders, former Minister of National Defense also on list
Never-ending anti-corruption movement, China's public society corroded by 'embezzlement'

Various instances of corruption were discovered within the Rocket Force, which oversees the nuclear missile unit under the People’s Liberation Army of China. Citing an analysis by the U.S. intelligence agency, the U.S. Bloomberg News reported, “Noise is occurring in the rocket force’s power.” Despite President Xi Jinping’s ‘anti-corruption campaign’ continuing for more than 10 years, the problem of corruption prevalent throughout society appears to be hardly being resolved.

“Missiles were filled with water”, a sign of failure in military modernization

The United States assesses that the level of internal corruption in the Chinese People’s Army, especially the Rocket Force established in 2016, is very serious. The assessment is that trust in the military’s ability to carry out combat has been undermined. In fact, it has been reported that a large number of missiles were discovered in China’s rocket force, including missiles filled with water instead of fuel and missiles that could not be used due to caps that did not meet specifications. Intelligence agencies believe that such corruption caused President Xi Jinping’s ‘large-scale purge’.

On the 5th, Bloomberg reported that 6 rocket force and state-owned defense company leaders had been purged in the past six months. According to Bloomberg, former Defense Minister Lee Shangfu and other high-ranking officials have been named on the purge list, but Chinese authorities are still keeping quiet about specific details other than the fact of their dismissal. As a large number of high-ranking officials were purged and an unusual atmosphere was created, some even analyzed that the ‘attempt to modernize the military’ dreamed of by President Xi Jinping could be stranded due to corruption.

In fact, President Xi Jinping has invested a large amount of funds in rocket forces, etc., with the goal of ‘military modernization by 2027’. At the beginning of its establishment, the Rocket Force was evaluated as a powerful future force of the Chinese military, as it was an integration of nuclear missile operation, strategic nuclear submarines, strategic bomber units, and space defense units. However, the power base began to shake due to corruption that plagued the Rocket Force both inside and outside, and ultimately, President Xi Jinping’s military modernization plan was on the verge of collapse.

‘War on corruption’ lasting more than 10 years

Corruption in public society is not a problem limited to the People’s Army. Although the anti-corruption movement that began after President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012 continues to this day, corruption issues still lurk like a time bomb throughout China. Last year, the Communist Party’s Central Discipline Inspection Commission, which oversees anti-corruption assessment work, acknowledged the seriousness of the corruption problem, saying, “We have not yet uncovered the truth of corruption, but new types and colors of cases are increasing.”

The ‘scale’ of corruption is also gradually increasing. In 2022, news broke that Li Jianping, a civil servant in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, had embezzled a large sum of more than 6,000 billion won. This is the largest amount of embezzlement since Chinese authorities began their ‘war on corruption.’ From 2009 to 2014, he abused his position as chairman of a private company and secretary of the Party’s working committee to unfairly support companies, and from 2016 to 2018, he embezzled state funds by using his position as secretary of the Party’s working committee in the Hohhot Economic and Technological Development Zone in Inner Mongolia. Confirmed. A local court sentenced Li Jianping to death.

Since the anti-corruption movement began, China has been emphasizing the eradication of corruption through ‘self-revolution’. Self-revolution is the concept that in a socialist country where the class struggle has ended, the Communist Party and the government must constantly refine themselves so that the protagonists of the struggle do not fall into the “object of revolution.” As the meaningless ‘anti-corruption campaign’ continues to protect public trust, will President Xi Jinping be able to break the cycle of corruption that has infiltrated even the defense sector?

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