London: India is the country that is spoken of most often as an enemy in China, a British newspaper reported on Sunday, but quoted a retired Chinese officer as saying the men serving the People's Liberation Army (PLA) have no "devotion".
"Compared with our last war against India in 1962, our equipment is much better but the devotion to country and people of our officers and men is much worse," the Sunday Times quoted an unnamed retired officer as saying.
In an article on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic, the paper said the occasion is set to be marked by the "grandest martial parade in the history of modern China", with displays of a new generation of fighters, ballistic missiles, battle tanks and rifles.
"Thursday's parade is certain to provoke an outpouring of virulent nationalism. Curiously, the enemy most often spoken of is India," the paper said.
Censors, otherwise draconian in their grip over Chinese netizens, permit "alarmingly frank discussion" on the Internet on going to war against India over Tibet.
However, the paper said veterans who know the PLA from the inside say that despite all its shiny new kit, such grandiose ideas mask the reality of "a force that has no recent battle experience and is riddled with corruption".
It said insiders speak of a system of bribes ranging from CNY 10,000 (USD 1,400, Rs 70,000) for a good post for a private soldier to CNY 30,000 for a place at military college.
The Sunday Times quoted General Zhang Shutian, a political commissar, saying in a recent address: "If corruption in the army continues, ideology will decay and open the way for religion, while the promotion system risks causing a mutiny."
China's People's Daily newspaper declared on Friday: "We must abide by (former Chinese leader) Deng Xiaoping's instructions that China must be under the leadership of the Communist Party.
"If this fundamental principle is altered, China will go backwards, split and fall into chaos," it warned.
First Published: Monday, September 28, 2009, 00:02