BEIJING (AP) — A top Chinese general has been placed under investigation for corruption, China’s Defense Ministry said Thursday, announcing the highest-level active duty military official to be ensnared in a sweeping anti-corruption drive.
Military prosecutors have been investigating Gen. Wang Jianping on suspicion of accepting bribes, ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in a briefing, without elaborating on the case.
Wang is the deputy chief of staff with the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission, which is led by Xi Jinping, China’s president and leader of the ruling Communist Party. Since he came to power in late 2012, Xi has launched a wide-ranging crackdown on corruption that has felled scores of mid-to-high-level officials but that has also been seen as targeting threats to Xi.
Wang was formerly the commander of China’s armed paramilitary police force for five years. The South China Morning Post has reported that Wang was an ally of China’s former domestic security chief, Zhou Yongkang. Zhou was sentenced to life in prison last year on charges of accepting bribes, but was perceived to be targeted also because he was deemed the center of a vast patronage network spanning the state-owned oil industry, the state security apparatus and the southwestern province of Sichuan.
Three other top Chinese generals have been accused of corruption but were officially retired when their investigations were announced. Among them was Guo Boxiong, then a top general and former vice chairman of the military commission, who was sentenced by a military court in July to life in prison for taking bribes.
Guo, 74, was also stripped of his rank and forced to hand over all his assets to the Chinese government.
Some top generals are reported to have accumulated stunning fortunes through corruption in both cash and gifts, including golden statues of Mao Zedong and cases of expensive liquor stacked to the ceiling in secret underground caches. Along with the selling of ranks and positions, such practices are believed to have had a strong negative effect on morale, discipline and combat preparedness in the world’s largest standing military.
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