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China probes another senior military official for graft

BEIJING — China’s military is investigating a general who worked at a prominent military university on suspicion of graft, the Chinese media reported yesterday, as Beijing widens its crackdown on corruption in its armed forces.

Military delegates from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) walk towards the Great Hall of the People for a plenary meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament, in Beijing. Reuters file photo

Military delegates from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) walk towards the Great Hall of the People for a plenary meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament, in Beijing. Reuters file photo

BEIJING — China’s military is investigating a general who worked at a prominent military university on suspicion of graft, the Chinese media reported yesterday, as Beijing widens its crackdown on corruption in its armed forces.

Major-General Dai Weimin, 52, was “taken away” in the middle of last month by military prosecutors, said a report by respected news magazine Caixin. Maj-Gen Dai was a deputy dean at the People’s Liberation Army Nanjing Political College.

The Caixin report, quoted by the official China Daily newspaper, said the authorities suspected Maj-Gen Dai of taking huge bribes related to land and construction projects.

There was no indication of any response by Maj-Gen Dai or his representatives.

Current and former military officials have said graft in the military threatened China’s ability to wage war.

President Xi Jinping has increased efforts to modernise the armed forces as Beijing takes a more assertive stance in the East and South China seas.

The government is already investigating Xu Caihou, the retired deputy head of the powerful Central Military Commission, and Gu Junshan, who had been deputy director of the military’s logistics department, for graft. Gu is suspected of selling hundreds of positions.

Earlier this year, the Chinese media described a police raid conducted last year on Gu’s mansion in Henan province, in which four truck’s worth of luxury items were seized, including a cellar of expensive wine and a pure gold statue of Mao Zedong.

Further details of Gu’s alleged crimes emerged this week, including claims that he had been involved in a 30 billion yuan (S$6.38 billion) racket and had personally pocketed around 600 million yuan.

He had also distributed around 100kg of gold, worth close to US$4 million (S$5.27 million) at today’s prices, by packing Mercedes vehicles with gold bars and handing the keys to the recipient.

The claims were published by China’s Phoenix Weekly magazine, in a move that appeared designed to bolster the public impression that Beijing was winning its fight against corruption.

However, the report was deleted by yesterday morning indicating that Chinese censors may have thought the allegations risked stirring public anger at corrupt Communist Party officials rather than reducing it.

Mr Xi launched a sweeping campaign against graft after becoming party chief in late 2012 and President last year. He has vowed to take down powerful “tigers” as well as lowly “flies”.

China’s Defence Ministry has said it would continue to target corruption cases.

In a separate report, a senior public security official said provincial officials must take action to help a campaign, dubbed the “fox hunt”, to track down those suspected of hiding their illicit wealth overseas, said the state-owned Beijing Youth Daily.

Those from provinces found to be “not doing their best” would have to explain themselves to the central government’s Ministry of Public Security, Mr Liu Jinguo told the newspaper.

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