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Military opens material procurement website
By Ma Chenguang (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-22 06:17

The People's Liberation Army (PLA), now with a force of about 2.3 million, has opened a website to publicize its military material procurement work and ensure its transparency, China National Radio reported on Thursday on its website.

The PLA procurement network, which can be reached at http://www.plap.cn and is said to be the only website of its type, aims to provide a platform between military material suppliers and buyers with the aim of "integrity, fairness and openness," the report says.

China's total defence expenditure for this year, according to Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan on Wednesday, is US$30.2 billion. Military material buying accounts for a considerable share of the budget, Chen Bin, a PLA Second Artillery Force headquarters staff, said on Friday in a telephone interview.

He added that the PLA General Armament Department will continue to handle the military's armament affairs.

The military commodities, divided into 21 major categories on the website, includes types of "machinery products," "vehicles and aircraft," "live and slaughtered animals," "cereals, oils and foodstuffs," "chemical products," "minerals," "textiles," "arts and crafts" and "special-purpose goods."

Online visitors can view "announcement," "notices," "news," "policy acts," "suppliers news" and "products show" items for clues on the website, developed and managed by the Quartermaster Materials and POL Department under the PLA General Logistics Department.

The operation of the procurement website highlights a new stage towards "information perfection and standardization," the radio report said.

According to a list on the website, the Navy, the Air Force, the Second Artillery Force, the General Logistics Department and the seven PLA military area commands Shenyang, Beijing, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Chengdu will be the major departments managing military material trade.

Further, the website says, seven regional trading centres including the capital, the Northeast, the North, the East, the Central and South, the Northwest and the Southwest will handle the transactions.

Ma Qiang, from the Gansu Division of the Chinese People's Armed Police Force, said on Friday that the general public can now have easier access to the corresponding laws and policies on military material buying, and the interactive link is a major step out of secrecy and towards a practice free of "behind-door" corruption. Visitors can lodge online complaints to the website.

(China Daily 10/22/2005 page2)

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