The PLA protects Hong Kong, but can it be accountable to itself?
It's interesting to read that the Communist Party of China and the People's Liberation Army are setting up offices at the local government level to better monitor soldiers for illegal activities and address grievances.
The move comes following the crackdown on officials' lavish spending and now it has also spread to the PLA in a bid to clean up the military, improve morale and root out graft without affecting public confidence in soldiers.
"All departments should attach importance to the work of protecting military rights, especially those that have a major influence on state security and social stability," said a document jointly issued by the Communist Party's Central Political and Law Commission and the PLA's General Political Department.
The notice added government authorities should also crack down on military-related crimes, such as stealing and selling PLA secrets, theft or destruction of equipment or facilities.
A closer scrutiny into the PLA came late last month after former deputy logistics chief Gu Junshan was charged with embezzlement, bribery, misuse of state funds and abuse of power. His former boss, Xu Caihou, who was previously CMC vice-chairman was also detained.
The document says all provinces and municipalities should establish leading groups and standing offices at the county, city and provincial levels. Heads of the local political and law commissions will lead the groups, while key judicial and government organizations will take part.
What about Hong Kong? In the former Prince of Wales barracks which has now finally been transformed into a PLA garrison with a giant red star emblazoned on the top, houses a number of PLA soldiers. Will an office also be set up to scrutinize them as well?
One hardly thinks the grassroots soldiers need to be disciplined for corruption, but those higher up the ranks with access to all this money and assets are the ones more prone to misdeeds.
It will be interesting to see if these offices catch more PLA soldiers and higher-ranking officers doing dirty deeds. After all, these bureaus will be setup by the PLA and CPC themselves...