Corruption in the PLA
A rare public protest against the Chinese military took place June 18 at the Chinese border city of Shenzhen, the logistics base for all People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops stationed in nearby Hong Kong.
Scores of angry, boisterous, and banner-holding protesters, most of them relatives of retired and active-duty, lower-ranking PLA officers, stormed the gate to the main base there to protest unfair and corrupt housing policies within the PLA.
The protesters clashed with armed guards and accused highranking officers at the Shenzhen barracks of taking away their allotted housing units and converting them into luxurious commercial rental units for personal gain.
The protests are another sign that official corruption in China is spiraling out of control. Two weeks ago, the Chinese central bank issued a report on its website that said some 16,000 to 18,000 government officials had embezzled $124 billion and fled the country in the last 15 years.
Insiders in Washington and Beijing believe that the numbers are understated and that a large portion of the illicit capital flight took place within the last two years.
The Chinese military certainly is no bystander in this spectacular heist, with all the privileged means at its disposal to easily and legally bypass customs controls and financial regulators.
A case in point is Vice Adm. Wang Shouye, former deputy commander of the PLA navy who was discovered in 2005 with at least five mistresses and $26 million worth of embezzled state funds, much of it found as cash stacked inside the German-manufactured freezer at his residence.
Flexing their muscles: Chinese Navy Sovremenny-Class destroyer DDG 138 Taizhou at sea.