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Chinese general commits suicide amid corruption probe

Zhang Yang, a former member of the powerful Central Military Commission, was being investigated over links to disgraced generals Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou.

world Updated: Nov 28, 2017 19:13 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Chinese general,Central Military Commission,Zhang Yang
Zhang Yang, head of General Political Department of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), attends a meeting in Beijing, China January 13, 2014. (Reuters File Photo)

A former general of China’s powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) committed suicide in Beijing last week, months after a corruption investigation was launched against him, state media reported on Tuesday.

Zhang Yang, the former head of CMC’s political work department, was found hanging in his Beijing home on November 23.

He is the senior-most People’s Liberation Army officer to commit suicide since President Xi Jinping launched a widespread anti-corruption campaign.

State media reported Zhang had links to fallen former CMC vice-chairmen Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou.

“Zhang Yang, a member of the Central Military Commission (CMC), committed suicide at his home in Beijing on Nov 23, after authorities launched an investigation into his links to two corrupt former senior military figures, Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou,” official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the CMC.

“The CMC decided to hold ‘talks’ with Zhang to investigate his involvement in the cases of Guo and Xu, two former CMC vice-chairmen, on Aug 28,” the report added.

Investigators said Zhang had seriously violated discipline and law, which is a euphemism for corruption in Chinese state media.

“He was also suspected of offering and accepting bribes and holding a huge amount of property from unidentified sources,” the report said.

“Evading the punishment of Party discipline and law by committing suicide was disgusting conduct,” said a commentary on the official website of the PLA.

The commentary said “the case of Zhang Yang shows that a lot still needs to be done in eliminating the pernicious influence of Guo and Xu, and in the construction of Party conduct and honest, clean government, as well as in the fight against corruption”.

Xi’s anti-corruption drive was praised by state media earlier this month, which pointed out that it had taken down more generals than the number killed in the fight to establish the People’s Republic of China.

“Since the 18th National Congress (in 2012), more than 100 PLA officers at or above the corps-level, including two former CMC vice-chairmen, have been investigated and punished. This is even greater than the number of army generals who died in the battlefield during revolutionary times,” Xinhua said in a profile of Xi.

Xu once ran the political work department, which is in-charge of imbuing political thought and makes military personnel decisions. Along with Guo, he was accused of taking bribes in exchange for promotions.

Guo was jailed for life last year. Xu died of cancer in 2015 before he could face trial.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published: Nov 28, 2017 15:01 IST