China investigates senior military logistics officer for corruption

BEIJING (REUTERS) - A senior Chinese army logistics officer is being investigated for corruption, state media said on Wednesday (Oct 21), the latest military official to be probed in an ongoing anti-graft campaign.

China's President Xi Jinping has made weeding out corruption in the military a top goal, with serving and retired officers warning that graft is so pervasive it could undermine the country's ability to wage war.

Major-General Zhou Guotai, the former deputy head in charge of fuel and supplies at the military's powerful General Logistics Department, has been put under investigation for"suspected serious violations of discipline", China Military Online said.

The one-sentence statement on the site run by the official People's Liberation Army Daily said Maj-Gen Zhou's case had been transferred to military prosecutors, but did not give further details.

Discipline violations generally refer to corruption.

A Chinese military court in August sentenced former lieutenant-general Gu Junshan, who had been deputy director of the logistics department, to death with a two-year reprieve for crimes, including bribery, abuse of power and misuse of public funds.

The reprieve usually means the death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment after two years' good behaviour.

Gu had been charged in 2014 on suspicion of selling hundreds of military positions, in a case linked to that of Xu Caihou, a former vice-chairman of the elite Central Military Commission who the government said had confessed to taking "massive" bribes in exchange for help in promotions.

China intensified its crackdown on corruption in the military in the late 1990s, banning the People's Liberation Army from engaging in business.

But the military has been involved in commercial dealings in recent years due to a lack of checks and balances, military analysts have said.

The anti-graft drive has felled several other senior military officers, including Guo Boxiong, also once a vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission.