China's disgraced 'military tiger' Xu Caihou dies of cancer

Xu Caihou, former vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission, was one of the highest profile figures to be caught up in President Xi Jinping's war on corruption.

Story highlights

  • Xu, a former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, dies of bladder cancer
  • The official was the most senior military leader to face corruption charges in recent memory
  • Statement: Xu took advantage of his position to promote others and take bribes

Hong Kong (CNN)Disgraced former People's Liberation Army (PLA) general Xu Caihou has died of bladder cancer, Chinese state media has reported. He was 71.

Xu, who passed away at a hospital on Sunday, became one of the highest-profile figures in China's military to be caught up in President Xi Jinping's war on corruption last year, when the government launched an investigation into him on the back of bribery allegations.
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The court decided not to prosecute Xu due to his illness, but said his illegal income, including the bribes he was determined to have accepted would be handled in accordance with the law.
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    Formerly a vice-chairman of China's Central Military Commission, the body which runs the two-million strong PLA, Xu was also expelled from the Chinese Communist Party and had his rank of general revoked, according to a statement from the state-run Xinhua news agency.
    A seven-month investigation, which began in March last year, found that Xu took advantage of his position to assist the promotion of other people. He confessed to accepting bribes personally and through his family.
    He was also found to have sought profits for others in exchange for bribes taken through his family members. The amount he received was "extremely huge," the statement added.

    Zero tolerance

    In Chinese President Xi Jinping's annual New Year speech, he reiterated China's "zero-tolerance" stance towards corruption, vowing to keep "waving high the sword against corruption" and "fastening the cage of regulations."
    2014 saw Xi take down two top officials in China's fight against corruption, in addition to Xu. He took down former domestic security czar Zhou Yongkang, likely soon to become the most senior Chinese official ever to face corruption charges, and Ling Jihua, a top aide to ex-President Hu Jintao.
    State media have touted the trio as the three biggest "tigers" caught in Xi's now-two year old anti-graft campaign, which has a stated goal of targeting both "tigers and flies" -- high-and low-ranking officials.