Top Chinese Military General faces trial over corruption as Xi steps up anti graft campaign

Top Chinese Military General faces trial over corruption as Xi steps up anti graft campaign

BEIJING - A senior Chinese military commander is to face prosecution over involvement in bribery, as President Xi Jinping steps up his flagship anti-corruption campaign.

China’s official Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday that Fang Fenghui, a former member of the Central Military Commission, China’s top military body, was subject to a graft investigation by the authorities.

The 67-year-old is the latest senior figure to be caught in Beijing’s crackdown against corruption. Xu Caihou, a former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, was jailed for life last year while Guo Boxiong, who had served in the similar position, died of cancer in 2015 before he could face trial. Zhang Yang, a member of the Commission like Fang, was investigated for corruption and over his links to Guo and Xu. But he committed suicide in November 2017 before the results of the probe were known.

Dozens of other officers have been jailed or investigated over the past years over similar charges.

Fang was abruptly replaced as the chief of China’s Joint Staff Department of the People’s Liberation Army in August 2017. Reports emerged in September the same year showing that Fang was being questioned on suspicion of corruption. He was also among military officials replaced as part of a sweeping military leadership reshuffle in October, when the Communist Party congress replaced him as a member of the Commission. Fang was in President Xi Jinping’s entourage when he traveled to Washington in April to meet US officials.

The anti-corruption campaign against senior officers of the armed forces comes as Xi struggles to modernize the Chinese military, which is the world’s largest. The campaign is part of a broader and more ambitious push to purge all state institutions of corrupt officials.

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