Former Chinese Communist Party Central Military Commission vice chairman Xu Caihou (徐才厚), who had been under investigation for alleged bribe-taking and brokering of promotions, has died of cancer in a hospital, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday. He was 71.
Xu was the most senior military figure detained in an anticorruption crackdown launched by President Xi Jinping (習近平).
Xu died of advanced bladder cancer that had spread throughout his body and of multiple organ failure, Xinhua said.
Xu had been expelled from the party in June last year and his rank as general revoked, but an indictment had not yet been announced. Xinhua reported that the criminal probe against him would now be dropped.
Officials last year had been quoted as saying that Xu was ill with bladder cancer and would get treatment, but also that the case against him would go forward, in a sign of Xi’s determination to root out wrongdoing.
In addition to being president and head of the party, Xi also chairs the party and government commissions that oversee the 2.3 million-member Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
Xu had been under investigation since early last year by the party’s anti-corruption watchdog, the Chinese Central Committee for Discipline Inspection.
Few details were released about the investigation, but Xinhua said Xu was accused of taking advantage of his position to promote people and had accepted “huge amounts of bribes personally and through his family.”
Phoenix Weekly, a Hong Kong-based magazine with strong Chinese military connections, reported that large amounts of cash, jade, gems, paintings and rare antiques had been found in Xu’s Beijing mansion.
Xu’s downfall followed an investigation into another leading general, former logistics department chief Gu Junshan (谷俊山), who allegedly amassed a huge fortune through embezzlement, kickbacks and the selling of favors.
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