Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Top Chinese general expelled from Communist Party for corruption

By Steven Jiang, CNN
updated 2:44 AM EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
Xu Caihou, former vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission, was detained in March.
Xu Caihou, former vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission, was detained in March.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gen. Xu Caihou and his family members received money and gifts, investigators say
  • Xu was a former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission
  • He is the most senior military leader to face corruption charges in recent memory
  • Xu is one of four senior members to be expelled from the ruling Communist Party

Beijing (CNN) -- In the latest sign of his resolve to fight widespread official corruption, Chinese President Xi Jinping presided over a leadership meeting Monday to expel four senior members from the ruling Communist Party, including a retired top general of the two million-strong People's Liberation Army.

Gen. Xu Caihou, a former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission that runs the world's largest standing army, was found to have accepted bribes, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Xu was also a member of the country's elite decision-making body, the Politburo, before retiring in late 2012.

The official probe into Xu, 71, started in March and Party investigators have found evidence of him and his family members receiving money and gifts from others, according to Xinhua. Xu's case would be handed over to prosecutors for a court martial, making him the most senior military leader to face corruption charges in recent memory.

In a statement released after Monday's Politburo meeting, President Xi and other Chinese leaders reiterated their "zero tolerance" for corruption in the government and military -- long a lightning rod for mass discontent across the country -- but they also acknowledged the anti-graft task would be "ongoing, complex and formidable."

The three other former senior officials ousted from the Communist Party for corruption were Jiang Jiemin, a former minister in charge of state assets; Li Dongsheng, a former vice minister of public security; and Wang Yongchun, a former deputy head of state-owned oil behemoth China National Petroleum Corporation.

On China: Tigers and flies
Author: Corruption hurt Communist Party

'Tigers and flies'

The announcement on Xu came on the heels of the downfall of Su Rong, a former vice chairman of China's top political advisory body. Su, once a "state leader" in the official hierarchy, was formally removed from his post last Wednesday over serious corruption allegations.

State media has characterized Xu as a big "military tiger" caught in the massive anti-graft campaign launched by President Xi, who is also the commander-in-chief. After becoming the head of the Communist Party in late 2012, Xi banned official extravagance -- from banquets to year-end gifts -- and vowed to target "tigers and flies" alike in his fight against corruption when describing his resolve to spare no one regardless of their position.

Xinhua recently touted the catching of 30 "tigers" since Xi took power less than two years ago.

Zhou Yongkang

Some China watchers have noted ties between an increasing number of disgraced officials to Zhou Yongkang, the former domestic security czar who has been rumored to be under investigation for some time. Jiang, Li and Wang in Monday's announcement have long been considered Zhou protégés.

State media has reported official probes into many of Zhou's family members as well as former associates in the domestic security apparatus, state oil industry and southwestern Sichuan Province -- three places Zhou once ruled. If announced, Zhou would become the highest-ranking official ever to face corruption charges in the history of the People's Republic.

In 2013, some 182,000 officials were disciplined while courts nationwide tried 23,000 corruption cases, according to the Communist Party's disciplinary commission. State media has cited the trial and conviction last year of former high-flying politician Bo Xilai -- though called politically motivated by Bo supporters -- as one prime example of President Xi's determination to clean up the Party.

'Corruption endemic'

Longtime China observers, however, point to the limits of President Xi's war on corruption.

"Corruption is so widespread and so endemic that campaigns are just not going do it," said Frank Ching, a Hong Kong-based commentator and columnist on Chinese politics. "Something has to be done about the system."

"There have been public calls for a law to require officials disclosing their assets. There has been no indication that they are going to do that. In fact, a number of people calling for this law have ended up in prison," he added.

"I think people will be much more convinced of the seriousness of this anti-corruption campaign if there were a move to enact such a law."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
See CNN's complete coverage on China.
updated 12:10 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has hit its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
updated 3:12 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
updated 10:30 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
updated 5:11 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Is Xi Jinping a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
updated 11:44 PM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
updated 2:31 AM EDT, Fri July 4, 2014
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
updated 7:57 PM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
updated 2:56 AM EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
updated 4:36 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
updated 11:34 PM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
updated 7:44 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
updated 7:47 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
Anna Coren visits Yulin's annual dog meat festival. Dogs are part of the daily diet here, with an estimated 10,000 dogs killed for the festival alone.
updated 2:38 AM EDT, Thu June 19, 2014
People know little about sex, but are having plenty of it. We take a look at the ramifications of a lack of sex education in China.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Mon June 16, 2014
A replica of the Effel Tower in Tianducheng, a luxury real estate development located in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province.
What's the Eiffel Tower doing in China? Replica towns of the world's most famous monuments spring up all over China.
ADVERTISEMENT