CORRUPTION
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Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign

China’s disgraced PLA general Gu Junshan given suspended death sentence for corruption

His arrest marked the start of the military's graft crackdown that toppled 'tiger' Xu Caihou

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 August, 2015, 6:14pm
UPDATED : Monday, 10 August, 2015, 9:54pm

Gu Junshan, former deputy logistics chief of the People’s Liberation Army, has been given a suspended death sentence with a two-year reprieve by the military court for corruption.

Gu, charged with embezzlement, bribery, misuse of state funds and abuse of power, was stripped of his political rights for life as well as his military rank of lieutenant general, Xinhua reported. All his personal property was also seized.

The detention of Gu, 58, in 2012 marked the start of the corruption crackdown in the military. The campaign also brought down former Central Military Commission vice-chairmen Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong, two of the most senior military officials to fall. Gu was a close ally of Xu.

On the mainland, suspended death sentences are usually commuted to life in jail. This means Gu escaped the death penalty.

The military court said Gu gave up information on crimes committed by others, which was a performance of “major meritorious service”. All his illegal gains were also recovered, it said.

The two factors resulted in the court’s meting out of a more lenient punishment for Gu, the People’s Liberation Army Daily reported.

The court also said it held Gu’s trial behind closed doors as his case involved military secrets.

Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong said the sentence was more of a political decision.

The Xinhua report did not give further details of Gu’s crimes, but mainland media have extensively reported on the astonishing amount of wealth the former senior general netted.

Gu’s riches, stored in one of his ancestral homes in Henan province, filled four trucks and took 20 paramilitary officers two nights to confiscate them all, according to a 2014 report by financial news outlet Caixin. Among the items seized were a pure gold statue of late leader Mao Zedong, a gold wash basin, a model boat made of gold and crates of mao-tai, a pricey Chinese liquor.

Gu’s two brothers also owned homes next to the family mansion, and the three homes were linked by a more-than-30-metre-long basement stacked with crates of expensive liquor. Most were untouched as Gu had not lived there for years.

The corrupt general owned prime real estate and dozens of apartments, each more than 1,800 square feet, around the Second Ring Road of Beijing’s inner city, and also pocketed 6 per cent of a 2 billion yuan (HK$2.5 billion) sale of military land in Shanghai, previous reports said.

As one of former CMC vice-chairman Xu’s closest subordinates, Gu shared his loot with his superior, including giving Xu’s daughter a 20 million yuan debit card as a wedding gift. He also sought promotion by bribing Xu, the reports said.

A signed commentary published in the People’s Liberation Army Daily yesterday said Gu’s sentence showcased the Communist Party’s “clear-cut attitude and determination to punish corruption according to the law”, and served as a warning to all cadres that “ignoring the law and party discipline will definitely be strictly punished”.