China: November 9, 2002

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The Chinese Communist Party has become less communist and more party. The recent party conclave declared that businessmen, rather than being "enemies of the people", are now eagerly sought after the pillar of the party. Business men are now encouraged to join the Communist Party. Despite the opposition of the ageing, and, declining, old revolutionaries, capitalism is seen as the salvation of the party and capitalists the people to keep the Communist Party relevant. While many businessmen have been joining the party for years, mainly because it was easier to deal with corrupt party members, it's now possible for businessmen to take over the party. Not right away, but within ten or twenty years, communism will "wither away" (as Marx predicted, but for different reasons.) 

But first the communists have to deal with the growing corruption among party members, especially those who are government officials. While most of the speeches denounced corruption of officials that deal with citizens, the problem is even greater among military officers and troops. The party has tried  to deal with the military corruption by forcing the senior officers to sell off their factories and other businesses. But there remains the day-to-day corruption of taking bribes for military contracts or personnel actions (promotions, transfers.) Training and readiness take second place to making money and even when units are "cleaned up," the corrupt practices soon start creeping back in. Unlike the civilian side, where citizens protest or rebel when corrupt officials, in effect, steal from them, there is no natural pressure on corrupt soldiers. All that is being stolen is the ability of China to make war effectively, and as long as the nation is not at war, where's the harm?

However, many politicians have been trying to make the military more formidable in order to threaten Taiwan and any other neighbors that might forget their place in relation to mighty China. On paper, Chinese military power is growing. But the Communist Party leaders meeting this week know better. They see the secret reports of low readiness and morale in combat units because so much money is stolen and troops abused by corrupt officers. 

China will become a serious military threat when it gets serious, and effective, about cleaning up corruption within the military.

 

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