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January 30, 2011

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Myles

McGregor is good on this in The Party, but we still don't have, to the best of my knowledge, a really comprehensive ground-level study of PLA officers and soldiers and their attitudes.

PLA officers, of anyone in China, probably has the most at stake in the Communist Party maintaining its grip. If you've ever seen a car with an army plate, you'll know how much privileges the PLA currently possesses to under the current system.

Add to this the fact that (IIRC) military officers are a lot more secure in their perches than their civilian counterparts: I can't imagine the CPC unleashing the same amount of moralistic prosecuting zeal upon military officers for comparable degrees of corruption, and in any case the senior ranks of PLA have a good number of people who are descended from Party families.

Myles

The degree of privilege is dependent on the closeness of one's bond to the Party apparatus, and the closeness of the bond correlates with how much one has to lose from the fall of the Party. It's a feedback loop. Local civilian officials have pretty much no bond with the Party at all, so the Party thinks nothing of send them to jail for corruption, whereas it's imperative that military and armed police officers attached to garrisons and staff headquarters have close bonds to the rule of the Party, and thus are insiders in a way that a local civil-service director is not.

Local civil servants, on the other hand, are usually meant to be technocrats, and they probably would get to keep their position, more or less, if there's a wrenching change within the party, while the PLA officer would, as an insider, much more sensitive to any shift in entitlements.

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