Former People’s Liberation Army general Guo Boxiong has been caught up in an anti-corruption probe and expelled from the Party.
Guo becomes the highest ranking military figure to be accused of corruption in over 60 years. China’s Xinhua News Agency reports that he was removed from the party during a Politburo meeting. As a result of his expulsion, he loses legal protections afforded to senior party officials and could face military trial, according to Bloomberg.
Former general latest victim of corruption crackdown in China
The former general, who used to be the head of the Central Military Commission, is suspected of receiving bribes, and is accused of “seriously” violating party discipline. The investigation is part of President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption in China.
Another former CMC vice chairman, Xu Caihou, was also investigated for corruption last year, although he died of bladder cancer before he could face charges. Andrew Scobell, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, claimed that the investigation of the two top generals is “one of the most significant military purges in the reform era.”
Xi has been campaigning against corruption for 3 years, and the military has been a particular focus. In addition to rooting out corruption, Xi is modernizing the force and projecting power outside China’s borders.
“Xi Jinping seems to be very concerned about the military readiness of the PLA,” Scobell said. “While there is no way to tell for sure short of an actual war, there seems to be reason for concern. Corruption is almost certain to undermine combat preparedness.”
Writing on the wall for Guo
Guo held the position of vice chairman of the CMC from 2002-2012, and was responsible for purchasing equipment for the PLA. His official biography reveals that Guo joined the army in 1961 and served in pivotal military regions. He was also a Politburo member until 2012.
Commentators began to suspect that Guo might be subject to investigation in March, when PLA officials revealed that they were investigating a number of senior officers, including his son Guo Zhenggang.
At the time, the People’s Daily covered the story with the headline: “You know what signal the fall of Guo Zhenggang sends.” Underneath the ominous heading, it claimed that “when it comes to fighting corruption in the military, the best part of the show is yet to come.”
In order to set an example to current incumbents, it seems Xi is set on prosecuting China’s retired officials for past crimes.