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Concern rises over misuse of military vehicles

By AN BAIJIE | China Daily | Updated: 2013-02-19 00:57

Vehicles with military and police license plates were parked at tourist sites during Spring Festival, prompting public concern over the misuse of public vehicles.

A car with a plate from the Lanzhou Military Area Command ran on the pedestrian street in front of a temple of the Pingyao ancient city tourism resort in Shanxi province at noon on Feb 13, People's Daily reported on Monday.

Another car with a military plate was found on Feb 13 parked in front of "Wang's House", a tourist attraction in Shanxi's Lingshi county, the report said.

Many other police vehicles and government cars at tourist sites were exposed by the newspaper, with their license plate numbers publicized.

Private use of military and government vehicles has long been a concern for the public, and many netizens questioned why the cars appeared at tourism sites during Spring Festival, which this year ran from Feb 9 to 15.

None of the exposed agencies responded to the report on Monday.

The report came after an online campaign to expose luxury military cars. The campaign was initiated by Yu Jianrong from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

On Yu's micro blog, many expensive cars, including a BMW X7, Land Rover and Audi Q7, were shown to have military license plates. Many netizens took photos of luxury military cars and asked Yu about the prices.

Yu wrote on Feb 8 that he was asked hundreds of times every day on his micro blog to verify the photos of luxury military cars.

On Feb 6, a Bentley with the military plate number WJ15XP319 was revealed on the micro blog. The Guangdong firefighter division said afterward that the Bentley's number plate was fake and the number belongs to a domestic brand-name car of the division.

"The central government should be determined to crack down on fake military cars. They ruin the reputation of the army and open doors for privilege and corruption," Yu said.

An online post on Saturday showed at least four Land Rovers with plate numbers "Jin O11111", "Jin O22222", "Jin O77777" and "Jin O88888" were parked together in a yard. The plate numbers belong to traffic police in Shanxi, but the public security authorities did not respond to the post as of Monday.

The central authority vowed to fight against the private use of government and military cars in an eight-point code put forward on Dec 4.

Purchasing expensive government vehicles was also prohibited in the code.

More concrete measures are needed to punish those who use military and government cars for private use, said Zhou Shuzhen, a professor of corruption research at Renmin University of China.

Military and police cars are exempt from punishment for traffic rules violation and from paying highway tolls, and as a result many drivers make fake military and police number plates, Zhou said.

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