Media reports point towards case against PLA General Xu Caihou

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 June, 2014, 2:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 June, 2014, 2:06am

State media have rolled out several articles about the anti-graft push in the military, suggesting the prosecution of General Xu Caihou will be announced soon.

Xu, a former vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission, would be the highest-ranking officer to be tried for corruption.

In a commentary, the PLA Daily called for zero tolerance of corruption within the armed forces.

Xinhua, meanwhile, reported that President Xi Jinping met party delegates of the PLA Air Force on Tuesday, and called on troops to strengthen their ideological beliefs and enhance combat effectiveness. Xi, who leads the military as chairman of the commission, has vowed to clean up the PLA.

Initial findings showed Xu had taken more than 35 million yuan (HK$44 million) from Lieutenant General Gu Junshan, a deputy logistics chief, sources earlier told the South China Morning Post. Gu has been charged with several crimes, including bribery and embezzlement, while Xu is reportedly under house arrest.

A People's Daily article profiled several generals it said were committed to selflessly serving the nation.

Ni Lexiong, director of the defence policy research centre at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, said the reports were "obviously part of an effort to prepare" public opinion in advance of "the announcement of a major graft scandal within the army".

Zhang Ming , political science professor at Renmin University, said: "The articles might herald the upgrade of the anti-graft fight within the army as resistance there is stronger than that in civilian sectors."

Ni said Xi's efforts to clean up the military were also aimed at improving its fighting capabilities. Tolerating graft within the army was equal to allowing the army's defeat in war, the PLA Daily said. The army's defeat in the first Sino-Japanese war of 1894-95 was due to corruption among the ranks, it said.