[Want China Times]
The greatest enemy of the People’s Liberation Army is corruption, says Liu Mingfu, a professor at the PLA National Defense University in Beijing.
Speaking to Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao to promote his new book on China’s armed forces, Liu said it would not have been possible to bring corruption charges against Gu Junshan, the deputy head of the PLA’s General Logistics Department, had it not been for the department’s political commissar, Liu Yuan. The only reason the commissar had the power to take Gu down at the start of this year is because he is the son of the former head of state Liu Shaoqi, one of the party’s first generation of leaders, Liu added.
The professor argued against the negative public perception of his fellow “princelings” — the descendants of high-ranking party officials — saying that anyone brave enough to stand up against corruption deserves support.
On the subject of disgraced former Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai, one of the country’s most prominent princelings expelled last week from the party for various offenses including corruption, Liu said there are naturally good and bad members in every group.
Though commonly viewed as a faction, the “princelings” may have little in common with each other politically beyond their privileged background.
Liu denied that Bo had a close relationship with the PLA, attributing the rumor to baseless speculation on the part of foreign media.
“China’s military only listens to the central government and the central military commission — or more precisely, the chairman of the central military commission,” Liu said.
Unfortunately, anti-corruption forces are still not as powerful as corruption forces in China, Liu said, adding that he feels embarrassed every time a taxi driver complains to him about the endemic corruption in the country.
In his new book, Liu expressed hope for a future Chinese leader who understands the west. Even though China has been open to the world for 30 years, Chinese people still don’t truly understand the west, he wrote, adding that he has high expectations for officials returning from studies in the US and Europe.
This leader needs to be familiar with China, America and the world, Liu said. China is too big, has too many contradictions, too much history and is changing too rapidly, so understanding this country is no easy task either, he added.
As for the future of the PLA, Liu was against the idea of electing senior military officials by a democratic vote. It could turn into a popularity contest rather than selecting the most qualified and most deserving officials, he said.
Liu listed three key objectives for the PLA. The first is to take into account and respect public opinion. The second is for the armed forces to be ruled by committee to prevent one single person from holding too much power. Third, he believes the PLA should establish a team of professional experts from various fields to assess the responses of military personnel in potential crisis scenarios.
It is only through testing reactions and psychological qualities that true talent can be identified, he said.