04/06/2016, 16.16
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Former military chief Guo Boxiong charged with corruption

For ten years, the general was deputy chairman of the Central Military Commission, second only to the country’s leader. He is accused of taking US$ 12.3 million in bribes, but his personal wealth is much greater. Very influential under President Hu Jintao, he could rely on many loyal officers.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China announced that it would press graft charges against former top General Guo Boxiong, a former military chief in the People’s Liberation Army.

Military prosecutors said Guo and his family took an “extremely large amount” of bribes, Xinhua reported. The latter is estimated to be around US$ 12.3 million, but the disgraced general’s personal fortune is estimated to be much larger.

Guo also allegedly “took advantage of his position to aid the promotion and relocation of other people”. Guo “confessed” to his wrongdoings, the report said.

Analysts noted that the timing of the announcement was significant, coming after a military overhaul and reshuffle of the top ranks by President Xi Jinping, who also chairs the powerful Central Military Commission.

Xi announced plans to reduce the size pf China’s armed forces, which currently stand at about 2.3m servicemen and women, and has warned top military brass against the temptation of corruption.

Guo had already been forced out in 2015. In July last year, he was also expelled from the Communist Party.

Guo’s family and associates have also been investigated for graft in the past two years, including his son Guo Zhenggang, a former deputy political commissar of the Zhejiang Military Region.

Because of his political influence, the military procurator put in several years of preparation before formally arresting him, said Hong Kong-based military expert Liang Guoliang.

“Guo stayed in the position for one decade, meaning many of the senior military officials were promoted under his influence,” Liang said. Hence, the go-slow approach to his prosecution.

Guo’s downfall is part of a campaign against China’s "tigers and flies" of corruption, launched by Xi Jinping in 2012.

No one has been spared, not even the Armed Forces. in fact, in recent years, several dozen high-ranking officers have been charged, jailed, or expelled from the Party for bribes or similar charges.

Guo’s case follows that of Xu Caihou, a former Central Military Commission vice-chairman at the same time as Gen Guo, who died of bladder cancer in March of last year.

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