Former top PLA general Guo Boxiong jailed for life over graft
A military court on Monday handed down a life sentence to former top general Guo Boxiong, making him the most senior PLA figure convicted of corruption since 1949.
The sentencing came days before the 89th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, which is undergoing a major overhaul steered by President Xi Jinping.
Guo, 74, was a vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission between 2002 and 2012, in charge of daily operations. Xu Caihou, another CMC vice-chairman, died of cancer last year at age 72 while in custody under investigation for graft.
A signed commentary in the official PLA Daily issued after the verdict said the inquiries into the activities of Guo and Xu – as well as former security tsar Zhou Yongkang, former Chongqing Communist Party boss Bo Xilai and former presidential aide Ling Jihua – had eliminated “major threats” to the party and the military.
But Guo’s case differed from the other disgraced officials in that he faced only a single charge of accepting bribes, according to Xinhua.
Xinhua cited an anonymous representative of the court martial as saying Guo had taken advantage of his position to help in the promotion and reassignment of others. He accepted “extremely huge amounts” of bribes, both personally and in collusion with others, the official said. But the exact amount he took was not specified. The South China Morning Post reported in April that prosecutors charged him with taking 80 million yuan (HK$96 million) in bribes.
The court said Guo’s crimes were “extremely serious”, but he had “confessed, owned up to his misdeeds, repented in good faith, and all the proceeds of his crimes have been recovered”.
The report did not reveal when the trial started and said it was closed-door as it involved military secrets. Guo pleaded guilty and decided not to appeal. All of his personal property would be confiscated and his rank nullified, it said. Other suspects linked to the case would also be tried.
A source close to the PLA told the Post the court found Guo and his family had sold promotions to high-ranking officers. His wife, daughter and son Guo Zhenggang had all been involved in his corruption.
Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan said the sentence might also reinforce Xi’s standing ahead of the annual summer conclave at Beidaihe, where the tone for key policies and party reshuffles is expected to be discussed.
“It’s a show of strength before the Beidaihe meeting. The military overhaul is still under way,” he said.