03/16/2015, 00.00
CHINA
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Xu Caihou, former general accused of corruption dies of cancer. Doubts over date of death

by Wang Zhicheng
The news made public yesterday at midnight, at the end of the National Assembly. Xu was accused of having pocketed tens of millions of yuan in bribes. He was seriously ill for a year. He is one of the high ranking victims Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. Xu Caihou was a strong ally of former President Jiang Zemin.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Coinciding with the end of the National People's Congress yesterday, at midnight last night news broke that former General Xu Caihou had died of cancer. Xu, 71, was vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, second only to Xi Jinping, and a key member of the Politburo. But last October, was accused of receiving huge bribes in exchange for promotions. He had been degraded as a result, although the precise charges were never published.

Xu Caihou, came to power during the Jiang Zemin era and was his close ally.  He is one of the high ranking victims of Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign which was launched in 2012. So far at least 30 senior army officers have been accused of "horrible" corruption.

Some army figures doubt that Xu Caihou died yesterday. In all likelihood he died several days ago, perhaps in early March, but the news was kept secret so as not to overshadow the National Congress, which began on March 5. Xu was terminally ill with cancer for at least one year. Already on March 7 news began to circulate online that a high ranking personality had died of cancer.

Another reason the silence over Xu's death, could be to prevent aftershocks in the Congress, where the Party is being subject to a war between groups linked to Jiang Zemin and those related to Xi Jinping.

According to observers, now that Xu has died, the new target of the anti-corruption campaign will be Gen. Guo Boxiong, another Jiang Zemin ally.

 

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