01 February 2014

The Chinese Military’s Toughest Opponent: Corruption

Shannon Tiezzi, “The Chinese Military’s Toughest Opponent: Corruption,” The Diplomat, 1 February 2014.

South China Morning Post reported details this week on an official government raid of the home of Lt. Gen. Gu Junshan, one of the highest-ranking PLA officers to ever be investigated for graft. Gu, who used to be the deputy chief of the PLA’s General Logistics Department, reportedly had quite a collection of treasures at his home in Henan Province, including “a pure gold statue of Mao Zedong, a gold wash basin, a model boat made of gold and crates of Maotai liquor.”

For all the recent fervor in the United States over China’s military modernization programs, corruption within the ranks could be weakening these efforts behind the scenes. According to Xinhua, China’s official defense budget for 2013 was $114.3 billion, a 10.7 percent increase over 2012. Western analysts such as Andrew S. Erickson and Adam P. Liff have noted that it is incredibly difficult to tell exactly what this money is being used for. “China still does not release even basic information that would provide insight into intra-PLA spending priorities, including a budget breakdown by service, the total amount spent on weapons imports, or the procurement costs of specific weapons and platforms,” they told the National Bureau of Asian Research in 2013. …

For full text of the source referenced here, see Nathaniel Austin, “Lifting the Shroud on China’s Defense Spending: Trends, Drivers, and Implications—An Interview with Andrew S. Erickson and Adam P. Liff,” Policy Q&A, National Bureau of Asian Research, 16 May 2013.

For recent related testimony, see Andrew S. Erickson, Testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Panel II: “Inputs to China’s Military Modernization,” “China’s Military Modernization and its Implications for the United States” hearing, Washington, DC, 30 January 2014.

For recent analysis on China’s new National Security Commission, see Andrew Erickson and William McCahill, Take Heed of China’s Security Commission,”China Real Time Report (中国实时报), Wall Street Journal, 31 January 2014.

Further readings and media regarding Chinese defense spending issues:

Andrew S. Erickson, “China’s Near-Seas Challenges,” The National Interest 129 (January-February 2014): 60-66.

Andrew S. Erickson, “China’s Naval Modernization: Implications and Recommendations,” Testimony before the House Armed Services Committee Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, “U.S. Asia-Pacific Strategic Considerations Related to PLA Naval Forces” hearing, Washington, DC, 11 December 2013. Click here for oral statement.

Adam P. Liff and Andrew S. Erickson, “Demystifying China’s Defence Spending: Less Mysterious in the Aggregate,”The China Quarterly 216 (December 2013): 805-30.

Andrew S. Erickson, “China’s Defense Budget: A Richer Nation Builds a Stronger Army,” Inaugural Presentation in “China Reality Check” Speaker Series, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, DC, 8 April 2012.

Andrew S. Erickson and Adam P. Liff, “China’s Military Development, Beyond the Numbers,” The Diplomat, 12 March 2013.

Andrew S. Erickson and Adam P. Liff, “A Player, but No Superpower,” Foreign Policy, 7 March 2013.
Andrew S. Erickson, “China’s Military Budget Bump: What it Means,” China Real Time Report (中国实时报), Wall Street Journal, 5 March 2013.