Chinese General sentenced to life for corruption

BEIJING: A military court in China jailed for life a former top military officer for corruption, stripping him of his title of general and seizing his assets, the latest prosecution in President Xi Jinping’s drive against graft in the armed forces.

Guo Boxiong, 74, was a vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission until he stepped down in 2012. Last year, the government said it would prosecute him for graft.

Xinhua said in a report also carried on the Defence Ministry website all of Guo’s “illicit money and materials” had been confiscated and turned over to the state.

Guo’s case was held behind closed doors as it involved military secrets.

Guo abused his position to help others with promotions and took “massive” bribes, either on his own or in connivance with others.

Guo admitted to his crimes, expressed regret and accepted the judgment. He would not appeal.

28 Nov 2017: A Chinese general has committed suicide after authorities began scrutinising his links to two former top military officials accused of corruption.

General Zhang Yang, a member of China’s elite Central Military Commission, committed suicide at his home in Beijing on 23 November, Xinhua said. Zhang’s death came after an investigation was launched into his connections to General Xu Caihou and General Guo Boxiong.

Xu, former head of the army’s political department, and Guo, a senior military figure and former vice-chairman of the CMC, were both accused of taking bribes in exchange for promotions.

Xu died of cancer before he could be imprisoned, while Guo was sentenced to life in prison in July 2016.

23 Jan 2017: Su Rong, former vice chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC, was sentenced to life in prison for taking bribes.

20 Jan 2017: A total of 7,900 Chinese officials have been punished for corruption since 2012, according to People’s Daily, China.

29 Dec: Wang Jianping, Deputy Chief of General Staff of the PLA, is under investigation on suspicion of bribery: MOD

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16 December 2016: Meanwhile, Ling Zhengce, former senior official in China’s Shanxi Province, sentenced to 12.5-year jail for receiving bribes worth $2.3 million.

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A commentary carried on the Defence Ministry’s website said the fight against graft was a “life and death” struggle for the military.

“Corruption is the greatest threat our party faces, and is the top killer of the military’s fighting ability,” it said.

Guo’s son, a major general, Guo Zhenggang, was put under investigation too, last year.

His case follows that of Xu Caihou, who was a Central Military Commission vice chairman at the same time as Guo, and died of cancer last year.

Before their retirement, the men had been two of China’s top military officers who served together under Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao.

Xi was also a vice chairman with Guo and Xu from 2010-2012, before he became head of the party and military commission chief.

23 Dec: Jing Chunhua, former provincial CPC Standing Committee member from Hebei province, sentenced to 18-year jail for receiving bribes of $8.6 million.

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Sources said Guo is also suffering from cancer and the military had faced a quandary over whether to put him on trial, in case he died before reaching court, like former comrade Xu.

Serving and retired officers have said graft in the armed forces is so pervasive it could undermine China’s ability to wage war. Xi has made ending military corruption a top goal.

The anti-graft drive comes as Xi steps up efforts to modernise forces that are projecting power across the disputed waters of the East and South China Seas, though China has not fought a war in decades.

Source: Reuters

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