By JONATHAN ANSFIELD MARCH 31, 2014
BEIJING — ... On Monday, prosecutors formally charged General Gu with bribery, embezzlement, misuse of state funds and abuse of power, the outcome of a far-reaching inquiry under President Xi Jinping that could foreshadow unprecedented criminal prosecutions of other high-ranking military figures. ...
An internal inquiry accused him of presiding over a vast land development racket that hoarded kickbacks, bought promotions and enabled him and his family to amass dozens of expensive residences, including places where investigators found stockpiles of high-end liquor, gold bullion and cash, according to people briefed on the investigation.
Even as President Xi presses a sweeping campaign against graft within the Communist Party, he has seized on the case against General Gu to pursue a parallel drive to clean up the 2.3 million-member armed forces.... Mr. Xi’s goal, they said, is to transform a service larded with pet projects and patronage networks into a leaner fighting force more adept at projecting power abroad and buttressing party rule at home — and to strengthen his own authority. ...
Mr. Xi, unlike his immediate predecessors, took over the military and the party at the same time — in November 2012 — and brought strong P.L.A. ties. After university, he served as an aide to a top military official. His father was a revolutionary guerrilla commander. His wife is a singer in the P.L.A.'s song-and-dance troupe.
The President of China's wife used to entertain the troops? Ann-Margaret style? Or was she more hands-on?
Mr. Xi has ordered a stream of antigraft measures, audits and criticism sessions; enlarged drills to upgrade “battle readiness”; and advanced contentious plans to restructure a military bureaucracy criticized as bloated and outmoded. Those plans are expected to overhaul the command structure, streamline the army’s procurement practices and significantly downsize nonmilitary divisions such as the performance troupes.
Is "performance troupe" (such as the one the First Lady worked in) perhaps a euphemism? Does the President of China have some deep-seated personal issues involving the military?
Corruption has bedeviled the P.L.A. since the market reforms of the 1980s, when it was permitted to venture into industry and earn the funds to modernize its arsenal and sustain its troops. Widespread smuggling, graft and profiteering ensued. It took years of debate for the party in 1998 to order the military to divest from business. But as Beijing increased military spending, officers tapped their own resources for profit.
The P.L.A. retains extensive land holdings, which have ballooned in value in line with property prices across the country, and real estate transactions are considered its biggest source of corruption.
The major danger is that the Chinese government will try to clean up the Army by giving it a war to fight. On the very, very macro scale, war is the enemy of corruption and inequality. Of course, war is also war.
America's Founding Father's didn't think much of standing armies. You can see why.