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Yet observers think the latest anti-graft measure targeting the PLA is not fair and most likely is an excuse for CCP leader Hu Jintao and his civilian leadership team to initiate a leadership shakeup within the PLA and force it to follow party orders.

Since March of this year, when the scandal that ousted regional party boss Bo Xilai broke out, the PLA has been sharply impacted by the ongoing power struggle in the months before to the party’s major 18th Congress, set to convene in the fall, when major power realignments will take place in Beijing.

Inside China, rumors of military discontent toward the Hu Jintao core leadership are widespread. At times, there has been word of an impending military coup, indicating divisiveness and unease within the senior ranks of the PLA. Those attitudes are confirmed consistently, although indirectly, by the central political leadership’s repeated calls for resolutely adhering to Hu dictates published in PLA propaganda outlets.

Last week, for example, the PLA Daily published articles condemning “subpar loyalty of military cadres to the CCP leadership headed by Comrade Hu Jintao” and warning that all PLA personnel must be politically savvy and not be affected by “distractions.”

Calls for public disclosure of all high-ranking CCP leaders’ assets have been made in China for many years. No civilian leader, however, openly endorsed the idea, let alone carried out a voluntary disclosure of assets.

• Miles Yu’s column appears Thursdays. He can be reached at mmilesyu@gmail.com.