Former top Chinese general Guo Boxiong has been expelled from the Communist Party for corruption, according to a decision by the Politburo late Thursday night, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
Guo, the former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, the Party office in charge of the military, was put under investigation by the Party’s anti-corruption agency on April 9. It was found that Guo took bribes “personally and through his family members,” said a statement by the Politburo that was carried by Xinhua.
“His acts seriously violated party discipline and left a vile impact,” said the Politburo.
Guo has since been handed over to military prosecutors for disciplining.
The purge of Guo has been anticipated for some time. Overseas Chinese language media have for months been carrying rumors that the retired general was being detained and held under “shuanggui”—the much-feared Party interrogation procedure—before the official announcement in April.
Earlier this year, members of Guo’s family and relatives too were being probed. Major General Guo Zhenggang, Guo’s son, was detained in March for graft. Guo Boquan, Guo’s younger brother, was in May caught for misappropriating disaster relief funds at a civil affairs bureau in the Northwestern Chinese province of Shaanxi.
Guo is not the first retired high-ranking military official to be purged.
In March last year, Xu Caihou, also a former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, was placed under formal investigation for bribery. State media reported that a dozen trucks were required to haul away Xu’s ill-gotten wealth, which was unearthed during his probe. A year later, Xu passed away from bladder cancer before he could be prosecuted.
The arrest and expulsion of Generals Guo and Xu have been widely considered by analysts to be part of Xi Jinping’s move against their political patron, former Communist Party boss Jiang Zemin.
While in power, Jiang stacked the Party and military with his proteges, swiftly promoting them through the ranks if they obediently did his bidding.
With his men holding on to top position in the Chinese regime, Jiang continued to hold significant political clout after his retirement from the Party leadership in 2002. He retained his chairmanship of the Central Military Commission for two more years, and only relinquished his role on the parallel state body one year later.
But even after those formal withdrawals, he is believed to have still wielded influence in the military, even maintaining an office in the Central Military Commission, according to unconfirmed reports in the overseas Chinese press.
The decision to expel Guo from the Party and hand him over to military prosecutors represents one more step forward in Xi’s campaign to further cleanse the Party and military of Jiang’s influence, while warning any remaining loyalists.