China to prosecute senior general over alleged graft

Fang Fenghui, who sat on China's powerful Central Military Commission, will be prosecuted on suspicion of bribery.
Fang Fenghui, who sat on China's powerful Central Military Commission, will be prosecuted on suspicion of bribery.

BEIJING • Fang Fenghui, a senior Chinese general who sat on China's powerful Central Military Commission, will be prosecuted on suspicion of bribery, the official Xinhua news agency said yesterday.

China's military, which is the world's largest and is in the midst of an ambitious modernisation campaign, has been an important focus of President Xi Jinping's battle to stamp out corruption.

Xinhua's brief dispatch, which gave no other details, is the first official confirmation of the graft investigation since a Reuters report last September that Fang was being questioned on suspicion of corruption.

Fang, who had accompanied President Xi to his first meeting with United States President Donald Trump last April, was abruptly replaced as chief of the Joint Staff Department of the People's Liberation Army last August with no explanation.

The 67-year-old was subsequently replaced as a member of the Central Military Commission at a key five-yearly Communist Party congress last October, as part of a sweeping military leadership reshuffle.

Dozens of officers have been investigated and jailed, including Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong, both former vice-chairmen of the Central Military Commission. Guo was jailed for life last year. Xu died of cancer in 2015 before he could face trial.

Fang, who had accompanied President Xi to his first meeting with United States President Donald Trump last April, was abruptly replaced as chief of the Joint Staff Department of the People's Liberation Army last August with no explanation.

Zhang Yang, who served on the commission alongside Fang, committed suicide last November while being investigated for corruption and over his links to Guo and Xu.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2018, with the headline 'China to prosecute senior general over alleged graft'. Print Edition | Subscribe