Former Chinese general Xu Caihou dies of cancer

World Today

File: Former vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Xu Caihou claps during the opening ceremony of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, March 3, 2012. [Photo: CFP]

The highest military official swept up in China’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign, retired General Xu Caihou, died of bladder cancer on Sunday, Xinhua reported. He was 72.

Xinhua said Xu suffered multiple organ failure and died in the hospital. Xu admitted taking bribes, but his death halts the criminal proceedings against him. China’s Global Times reported military prosecutors would drop the charges against him in accordance with Chinese law, but would continue to process his illegal assets.

In 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping had vowed to root out corruption, regardless of rank. All would be held accountable to the law—“tigers” as well as “flies.” Xu, a tiger, fell under official scrutiny in March 2014.

Three months later, members of China’s highest-ranking political body – the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee – announced Xu’s expulsion from the party. At the June meeting presided over by President Xi Jinping, the Central Committee directed prosecutors to investigate Xu’s case. In a strongly worded statement, the CPC Central Committee described Xu’s actions as “serious” and said they had a “vile impact.”

The statement added his warning: “Anyone, no matter what authority of office he holds, will receive serious punishment if found violating Party discipline and law.”

After a seven-month review, the legal arm of the Chinese military, China’s “military procuratorate,” issued a statement in October 2014, saying Xu took advantage of his position to secure promotions for others in exchange for bribes. The statement said the amount of bribe was “extremely large.”

Xu retired in 2012 as one of the highest-ranking officers in the People’s Liberation Army—the largest fighting force in the world with nearly 2.3 million active duty personnel. After the corruption probe, Chinese authorities also stripped Xu of his military rank.

This story is compiled with the information with Xinhua, Global Times.