'Corruption probe' general helps pen defence book
A retired senior People's Liberation Army general who was rumoured to have been under investigation amid allegations of corruption, has penned a preface for a military book, according to the official website of the ministry of national defence yesterday.
General Xu Caihou, a former vice-chairman of the Communist Party's Central Military Commission - the top body that commands the country's armed forces - wrote a preface for a book authored by Wang Xibin, the president of the National Defence University, a top university for military education in China.
The incident marks Xu's first appearance in the public eye since early March, when he was conspicuously absent from the annual two sessions of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
His absence sparked fierce speculation in various overseas Chinese media, including the US-based news portal duowei, that he may have been put under investigation for his alleged connection to the corruption case of Lieutenant General Gu Junshan.
Gu was sacked as deputy chief of the PLA's General Logistics Department in January 2012 and placed under investigation on suspicion of taking bribes.
Xu was also believed to have close ties with disgraced former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai. Both of them were former members of the party's powerful Politburo.
The new leadership in Beijing, headed by President Xi Jinping, has prioritised the anti-corruption campaign as one of its top initiatives. Xi has famously said his anti-graft drive aims not only to catch "small flies" but also "big tigers" - meaning high-ranking officials - as a display of resolve. A string of senior officials have been detained since December. It is not clear whether Xu's appearance on the national defence ministry's website mean the previous rumours about his investigation are untrue. Xu, 70, became CMC vice-chairman in 2007 and retired last year from the position.