Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign

China’s defence ministry confirms probe of leading general Wang Jianping

Ministry announcement verifies August report that Wang had been arrested

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 December, 2016, 9:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 December, 2016, 11:24pm

A top general in the People’s Liberation Army has been placed under investigation on suspicion of taking bribes, becoming the first incumbent senior military official to be targeted in the China’s anti-graft campaign, the defence ministry confirmed on Thursday.

General Wang Jianping, 63, the deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department under the powerful Central Military Commission, is under probe by military prosecutors, Yang Yujun, the spokesman of China’s Ministry of National Defence said at a monthly press conference.

The announcement confirmed a South China Morning Post report in August that Wang, a former ally of disgraced security tsar Zhou Yongkang, had been arrested for violating Communist Party discipline, a euphemism for corruption.

Top Chinese general linked to disgraced security tsar Zhou Yongkang arrested for corruption

The defence ministry did not give any more details of the investigation. A source told the Post in August that Wang had been taken away in Chengdu, Sichuan province. His wife, secretary and former secretary were also held, the source said.

Wang is the first general in active military service to be investigated since President Xi Jinping launched a high-profile crackdown in 2012 on corruption, which he said is a major threat to Communist Party rule and social stability.

Wang is the second top general known to be arrested this year after General Tian Xiusi, the former political commissar of the PLA Air Force, who was taken away in early July, according to a report in the Beijing Daily.

The confirmation of Wang’s arrest came one day after the Communist Party vowed to press forward with its “crushing momentum” against corruption to “purify the political environment within the party” in the year ahead, state-owned Xinhua said in a report on the meeting of the party’s Politburo chaired by Xi on Wednesday.

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Fighting corruption in the military has been a top priority in Xi’s anti-graft campaign and last week, the defence ministry said a revised audit regulation would come into effect in the new year, after which all the armed forces’ economic activities must be audited.

Wang was promoted to lead the some 1.2-million-strong People’s Armed Police in late 2009 after serving more than 15 years in the force.

During his years in the Armed Police, Wang reported directly to Zhou, the most senior official to be ensnared in a graft probe since the Cultural Revolution. Zhou was arrested in 2013 and sentenced to life in jail last year.

Wang was unexpectedly transferred in December 2014 to become the deputy chief of the former General Staff Headquarters, which was disbanded and reconsolidated into the Joint Staff Department earlier this year, with Wang remaining its deputy chief.