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China’s armed forces will carry out secret inspections over the new year holidays, both Western and lunar, to ensure orders against corruption are being followed, the defence ministry said on Thursday.
As head of the 2.3 million-strong armed forces, President Xi Jinping has made fighting military corruption a top priority. Officers have said the problem is so pervasive it could undermine the ability to wage war at a time when China has increasingly projected its influence in the region and surrounding seas.
The ministry said the inspections would ensure that the armed forces maintain their focus on the anti-graft fight, and would focus on issues like extravagance and waste, embezzlement and the ignoring of orders over the two holidays.
“Put efforts into inspecting and correcting the use of public funds for banquets, eating and drinking to excess, tourism or entertainment, entertaining private guests on the public purse or drinking in contravention of rules,” it said.
China marks the Western new year with a holiday on Jan. 1-2 and then the much longer lunar new year for a week from Jan. 27, the most important festival of the year when people travel home to their families.
The People’s Liberation Army is already reeling from Xi’s anti-corruption campaign, which has seen dozens of officers investigated and jailed, including Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong, both former vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission.
Xu died of cancer before he could stand trial. This week the military said it would tighten financial oversight with revised auditing rules coming into effect from Jan. 1, meaning all the armed force’s financial dealings will have to be audited.