China's army sends vehicles seized in graft crackdown to border areas

Chinese soldiers marching in formation during a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Sept 3, 2015.
Chinese soldiers marching in formation during a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Sept 3, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (Reuters) - Vehicles seized by the Chinese military during a crackdown on corrupt and extravagant practices have been sent for use by units working on China's remote border areas, the army's official newspaper said on Tuesday (Oct 13).

The armed forces have become a focus of President Xi Jinping's determination to root out deeply ingrained graft including bribery, which often takes the form of lavish gifts to officials or extravagant spending of government funds.

Retired and serving officers have warned the problem is so serious it could affect the military's ability to wage war.

Part of the campaign has been to seize official vehicles which have been bought or are being used against regulations, normally meaning luxury models or those purchased without approval using government funds.

The People's Liberation Army Daily said an order issued in June mandated all vehicles caught up in the sweep would be sent to border units in Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia.

"As of the end of September, these vehicles have all been assigned to border units in remote and difficult regions," it said, without giving any numbers or details of the types of vehicles sent to border areas.

The vehicles, which have all been painted with the letters "Border Protection Duty", will be used for training, disaster relief and patrol work, the paper said.

The crackdown on military cars used in violation of the rules has been "effectively managed" and "achieved initial results", it said.