A former deputy logistics chief of the People's Liberation Army was charged with corruption yesterday as the party launches a massive drive to clean up the military.
Lieutenant General Gu Junshan was charged with embezzlement, bribery, misuse of state funds and abuse of power by China's military procuratorate, or prosecutor's office. He is the highest-ranking officer to stand trial on such charges since Vice-Admiral Wang Shouye in 2006, who received a suspended death sentence for embezzlement.
The investigation against Gu, 57, has dragged on for two years since he was sacked and detained in early 2012. The delay fuelled concerns that powerful cliques within the army would hamper efforts to crack down on graft in the PLA.
But the case was finally brought before the military court yesterday, Xinhua reported, without giving further details.
Although Gu's arrest came before President Xi Jinping was named Central Military Commission chief in late November 2012, the charges against Gu come amid Xi's sweeping anti-corruption campaign against both "tigers" and "flies" - a move observers say is an attempt to build up his authority and legitimacy.
Gu's boss and close ally, General Xu Caihou , the former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, was detained two weeks ago and placed under investigation.
The South China Morning Post reported last month that Xu, who has bladder cancer, was brought to a secret detention centre. Xu's wife, daughter and secretary were also taken into custody.
As one of Xu's closest subordinates, Gu shared his largesse with his superior, including a 20 million yuan (HK$25.2 million) debit card given to Xu's daughter as a wedding gift, a source said. Gu also sought promotion by bribing Xu, the Post reported.
Senior military officials said on the sidelines of the National People's Congress last month that the authorities had wrapped up the Gu inquiry.
Allegations against Gu have been extensively reported by the mainland media. In January, Caixin.com  reported that Gu allegedly pocketed 6 per cent of the two billion yuan sale of military land. Gu's family also built seven riverside villas in his hometown of Puyang in Henan .
Gu, who joined the army at the age of 17, married the daughter of Zhang Longhai, then a commissar of the air force's 16th division - a connection that later saved Gu's job during massive army cutbacks in 1985, the report said.