Disgraced former general Xu Caihou dies, China drops graft charges against him

Retired general Xu Caihou, the most senior military leader facing a graft probe, died of bladder cancer on Sunday, prompting China to drop charges against him, reported Chinese state media early Monday morning.

The official Xinhua agency said the retired vice-chair of the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) died in hospital after the cancer had spread and the failure of multiple organs.

Xinhua said that as a result of Xu's death, the military prosecutors will no longer be pressing charges against him, according to Article 15 of the China's Criminal Procedure Law.

"The gains from his suspected crimes will be dealt with according to the law," Xinhua said.

Xu, who was born in 1943, was stripped of his full general military rank last October after he confessed to taking "extremely huge" bribes" through his role in a money-for-rank scandal within the People's Liberation Army.

Military prosecutors said in a statement then that Xu, who oversaw personnel deployments until his retirement, had taken advantage of his position to help others get promoted in return for bribes that he received personally and through his family members.

Xu was sacked from the Communist Party and handed over to prosecutors last June, three months after he was placed under investigations. He was then already suffering from cancer and reportedly taken from the hospital bed by investigators.

He served on the CMC from 1999 and as its vice-chair from 2004 till his retirement in 2012. He was a fellow CMC vice-chair of President Xi Jinping along with retired general Guo Boxiong, who is also said to be facing a graft probe.

kianbeng@sph.com.sg