Sixteen senior Chinese military officials in five of the seven military regions, in military academia, and in the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC), have been under investigation since the beginning of 2014, reported the state-run China Military Online on Jan. 15.
Six of the sixteen purged were accused of violating the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) discipline, while nine others were accused of the more serious charge of violating the law and committing a crime.
Violation of the law and violation of the Party discipline are often a byword for corruption in China. And corruption in the military is often tied to opportunities of getting promoted.
Seven of the purged officials originated from military regions in Chengdu, Beijing, Jinan, Shenyang and Lanzhou—leaving the military regions in Nanjing and Guangzhou unscathed for the moment.
The deputy commander Yang Jinshan in the Chengdu Military Region was purged, along with Jin Wei, deputy political commissar of the Tibet military district and Yong Wonyong, former political commissar of the Sichuan military district.
Chengdu Military Region had been under the spotlight ever since the fall of Bo Xilai, the Party boss of the southwestern mega-city of Chongqing.
Fang Wenping, former commander of the Shanxi military district of the Beijing Military Region, Zhang Qibin, former deputy chief of staff at the Jinan Military Region, and Fan Zhangbi, deputy political commissar of the Lanzhou Military Region were all taken down.
In Shenyang Military Region, Zhang Daixin, former deputy commander of the Heilongjiang military district was also removed.
The PLA’s General Logistics Department, which recently made headline news for being involved in forced organ harvesting, saw two of its officials taken away—deputy chief of staff Fu Linguo and deputy minister Liu Zheng.
Military education institutes appeared not be immune for corruption as Ma Xiangdong, director of the political department in the Nanjing Political College, Wang Minggui, former political commissar of the Chinese people’s Liberation Army Air Defense Command College, and Guo Xiaoyan, deputy political commissar of the Information Engineering University, had all been rounded up.
The Second Artillery Corp, which controls China’s nuclear ballistic and conventional missiles, saw two of its officials under investigation—Yu Daqing, deputy political commissar, and Chen Qing, deputy army chief.
Of the sixteen people, only Cheng Qing was officially convicted and sentenced—life imprisonment on charges of bribery and corruption, reported state-run People’s Net on Jan. 15.
The highest-ranking official on the list was Xu Caihou, the former vice chairman of the CMC. He was stripped of his party membership in June last year, and preparation for his indictment has been under way since October last year.
According to the Hong Kong based newspaper, Ming Pao, which cited an unidentified source in Beijing, another list of corrupt officials is being prepared and will soon be released.
That this list is a prelude to further investigation is a view shared by Wen Zhao, a political commentator for New Tang Dynasty Television.
“Any military general who wishes to get promoted cannot just bribe one single person, because the Central Military Commission is headed by two people. Any promotion must be agreed upon by the two vice chairmen of the CMC.”
To gain more control over Chinese military the Chinese Party leader Xi Jinping is also targeting a former vice chairman of the CMC, Guo Boxiong.