China's Communist Party expels former military chief Fang Fenghui, transfers his graft case to military court

Beijing: China's ruling Communist Party has expelled former military chief General Fang Fenghui from the party and referred his graft case to a military court for trial, the military said on Tuesday.

General Feng, 67, headed the 2-million-strong People's Liberation Army (PLA) till last year. He was also the former chief of the Central Military Commission (CMC), which is now headed by President Xi Jinping.

 Chinas Communist Party expels former military chief Fang Fenghui, transfers his graft case to military court

File image of General Fang Fenghui. Reuters

The CMC is the overall high command of the Chinese armed forces.

The former general has been expelled from the party and his case has been transferred to a military court to answer graft allegations, state-run China Daily quoted the military statement as saying on Tuesday.

Also Zhang Yang, the former head of the Central Military Commission's Political Work Department who committed suicide in November last, was expelled from the Communist Party of China and assets related to the illegal activity have been confiscated, it said.

Zhang was recently given posthumous punishments by the military for corruption exposed during an internal investigation, the military said.

General Fang is the latest in the list of a host of top defence officials caught in the anti-graft campaign launched by President Xi since 2013. Over 50 top generals have been punished under the anti-graft campaign which, observers say, also helped him to consolidate his power.

Fang, once the youngest commander of a People's Liberation Army (PLA), was described as an "opportunist" by military insiders, according to earlier media reports.

"Fang has close links to Zhang's superiors and subordinates because they were both proteges of disgraced former CMC vice-chairmen Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, with Fang being the most skilful opportunist, closely following Guo," the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported earlier.

General Guo Boxiong and General Xu Caihou, who were Vice Chairmen of the CMC under previous President Hu Jintao, were accused of heavy corruption including selling the top posts of the PLA for the highest bidder.

Updated Date: Oct 16, 2018 17:39:25 IST