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Top Chinese general jailed for life for graft

February 20, 2019

Former general Fang Fenghui is the latest top brass to fall over corruption. China's military has been a focus of President Xi Jinping's ongoing anti-graft crackdown.

Fang Fenghui
Image: picture-alliance/MAXPPP

A former top Chinese general has been sentenced to life in prison for bribery and having an unclear source of assets, state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

Fang Fenghui was abruptly replaced as chief of the Joint Staff Department of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in August 2017 and placed under investigation for corruption.

Read more: How powerful is China's military?

He was later expelled from the Communist Party and stripped of his rank in October 2018 ahead of his court-martial. It represented a quick fall from grace for a general who had accompanied President Xi Jinping on his first trip to visit US President Donald Trump in 2017.

Xinhua reported that the military court also stripped Fang of his political rights for life and ordered the confiscation of all his personal assets.

Top brass falls under graft probes

China's military's has been a focus of Xi's ongoing anti-graft crackdown.

Corruption has long been considered rife within the PLA, with top generals reported to have accumulated vast wealth. The scale of the graft fell afoul of Xi's objective of modernizing the military

Critics say Xi's anti-graft campaign is partly a cover to purge the military and Communist Party to consolidate control.

Other high-profile top military brass to be hit by corruption allegations include Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong, two former generals and members of the Central Military Commission controlling the armed forces.

Guo was handed a life sentence in 2017. Xu died of cancer in 2015 before he could face trial.

Another member of the Central Military Commission, Zhang Yang, committed suicide in November 2017 while being investigated for corruption. 

cw/aw (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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