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Bribes weaken China's defense budget

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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: You've heard the expression "Let the buyer beware." It's a common warning for consumers to be on their guard against rip offs. Somebody should tell that to the Chinese. Army inspectors have launched a campaign against corruption in the military. It's eating up part of the defense budget, worth about $36 billion a year. Jocelyn Ford has more on that story.


JOCELYN FORD: China's military budget is up nearly 15 percent this year, but the defense force isn't getting as much bang for its buck as it ought to.

The official People's Daily newspaper says corrupt military officers are accepting bribes from companies eager to get contracts. Companies that sell China's 2.3 million strong armed forces things like communications equipment and medical supplies.

Robert Karniol, is an editor at Janes Defense Weekly.

ROBERT KARNIOL:"It impinges on the level of professionalism within the armed forces, and that impacts on their efficiency as a fighting force. And it hurts essentially the morality of the armed forces."

The morality issue has been in the headlines. General Wang Shouye was recently axed after one of his five mistresses turned him in for reportedly diverting $20 million of military funds for his personal pleasure.

In Beijing, I'm Jocelyn Ford for Marketplace.

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