BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s military will 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, the Defence Ministry said on Wednesday after several scandals.
As head of the 2.3 million-strong armed forces, President Xi Jinping has made his fight against military corruption a top priority. Officers have warned that the problem is so pervasive it could undermine China’s ability to wage war at a time when Beijing has increasingly projected its influence in the region and surrounding seas.
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.
The Defence Ministry said in a short statement on its website Xi had signed off on the new auditing rules.
“All economic activities of the People’s Liberation Army and People’s Armed Police and the economic responsibilities of leadership cadres must be audited and supervised,” it said.
Particular focus would be put on senior officers who have left office or who work in the reserve forces, it said.
Military auditors will get more authority to collect evidence, look at bank accounts and publicize their findings, and wrongdoing will be handed over to prosecutors for further investigation, the ministry said.
Everyone has the responsibility to cooperate, to correct mistakes and wrongdoing when found and hold to account those found breaking the rules, it said.
China’s military set up a new auditing unit in January as part of its corruption fight.
The anti-graft drive comes as Xi steps up efforts to modernize forces that are projecting power across the disputed waters of the East and South China Seas, although China has not fought a war in decades.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait