BEIJING • A senior Chinese military officer has been given a suspended death sentence for corruption, state media said yesterday, in a case where he was exposed as owning dozens of homes, gold statues and luxury liquor.
Gu Junshan was also stripped of his rank of lieutenant-general, the official Xinhua news agency reported, but there is little chance he will be executed as the suspended penalty is almost always converted into a life sentence after two years.
"Gu Junshan has been found guilty of corruption, accepting bribes, embezzlement of public funds, paying bribes and abuse of power," Xinhua said, citing a military court.
According to a question-and-answer session with an unnamed military court official posted on the website of the People's Liberation Army Daily, the military's official newspaper, Gu was given a lighter sentence "after exposing other people's criminal acts".
Gu was a protege of Xu Caihou, the former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, who confessed to bribery last year and was dismissed from the military with his rank revoked. Xu died of cancer in March this year.
WHAT HE OWNED
• Dozens of apartments in central Beijing
• Mansion in Puyang in Henan modelled after the Forbidden City, sitting on 1ha of land
• Items seized from mansion include a gold boat, gold wash basin and gold statue of Mao Zedong, as well as crates of expensive liquor
Gu's trial was not public as the case contained national secrets, the official said. The former deputy director of the army's General Logistics Department, Gu was first placed under investigation more than three years ago. Last year, widespread coverage of his opulent lifestyle in strictly controlled media indicated that the authorities wanted to publicise his alleged misdeeds. He owned dozens of apartments in Beijing, and his mansion in Puyang in Henan province housed several gold art pieces, the magazine Caixin said at the time.
The Puyang home was modelled on the Forbidden City - the former imperial palace in Beijing - covered one hectare of land and was dubbed the "General's Mansion" by locals, the magazine said. Officials seized "a gold boat, a gold wash basin and a gold statue of Mao Zedong", and crates of expensive liquor, it added.
Xinhua said that as an additional punishment, the government confiscated all of Gu's personal property.