Officials have expelled former Central Military Commission (CMC) Vice Chairman Xu Caihou from the Communist Party over graft and handed his case to prosecutors, the Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.
Investigators allege that Xu took advantage of his post to secure promotions for individuals and accepted bribes personally and via family members, Xinhua reported, citing a statement issued after the meeting.
"The party will never allow a hiding place for corrupt elements," read the statement, as quoted by Xinhua. "The military will also never allow corrupt elements any place to hide."
President Xi Jingping heads the CMC, which controls China's military, the world's largest with 2.3 million soldiers. Weeding out corruption has become one of Xi's top goals.
The armed forces and judiciary both take orders from the Communist Party and will not likely challenge the charges against Xu.
'Complicated and arduous'
The party and army need to consider "the long-term, complicated and arduous battle against corruption, and the need for the fight against corruption to be put in a more prominent position," the statement said, according to Xinhua.
"Upon investigation, Xu Caihou took advantage of his office, helped others be promoted to positions and accepted bribes directly or through his family, used his position to influence others for profit, and his family members accepted valuables from others."
President Xi launched his sweeping campaign against graft when he became party chief in late 2012, vowing to take down powerful "tigers" as well as lowly "flies." Xu represents the most senior of those tigers to date.
In a probe that has come to resemble a power struggle to some, Xinhua also announced the expulsions on graft allegations of Li Dongsheng, the former vice minister of public security; Jiang Jiemin, the former head of the state asset regulator; and Wang Yongchun, the former deputy head of the state energy giant China National Petroleum Company. Media have speculated that the downfall of Xu and the others could presage government action against Zhou Yongkang, once a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's most powerful body.
A number of officials and others with close ties to Zhou have come under investigation in recent months, and the former security chief himself now finds himself at the center of rumors about a corruption probe.
mkg/tj (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)