Home News China charges former defense minister with corruption

China charges former defense minister with corruption


China’s leadership on Thursday accused two former defense ministers of accepting “huge” bribes and other corruption that hurt military advancement and the country’s weapons production complex.

The Communist Party’s Politburo, a group of 24 senior officials, issued two statements charging General Yang Jiechi with multiple crimes and insubordination. Li ShangfuHe served as defense secretary for much of last year, as well as Gen. Wei Fenghewhose term runs from 2018 to 2023. The statements suggest more people could step down during the expanding investigation.

Since serious corruption was exposed among senior officers of the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force last year, the outside world has begun to speculate that Chinese leader Xi Jinping has begun an investigation into corruption and misconduct in the military. Suddenly replaced Or has disappeared. He was dismissed as Defense Minister in OctoberHis disappearance from public view for months further fueled the rumors, but only now are China’s leadership revealing the full range of allegations surrounding the investigation.

this Announcement from Mr. Li It said he was found to have abused his position to accept bribes, including through corrupt personnel decisions, and to have bribed others and tried to obstruct investigations into him. Announcement about General Wei made similar allegations and said he was defrauded of valuables and money.

Both were stripped of their military ranks and expelled from the party, and their cases were referred to military prosecutors, meaning they will almost inevitably be tried, found guilty and sentenced to heavy prison terms, or even death if their crimes are deemed particularly serious. The statement also suggested that their crimes amounted to a betrayal of Xi Jinping, chairman of the Central Military Commission and leader of the party.

The two generals had served on the committee. The party said General Li “betrayed the party’s founding ideals and party principles, and his actions betrayed the trust of the Party Central Committee and the Central Military Commission.” General Wei was also accused of “collapse of faith in the party.”

The statements could trigger a broader investigation that could at least temporarily slow China’s rapid military modernization. The statement said investigators were following more leads and that General Li’s corruption had “seriously tainted” the military equipment department and companies. Before being appointed defense minister, he was a military equipment expert, and the department’s spending had been increasing for decades.

“These statements seem to foreshadow something very serious,” Yang Nien-tsu, a Chinese military expert who previously served in Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, said in a telephone interview.

Mr. Yang said the generals’ apparent resistance to the investigation and their claims of having lost faith in the party were particularly troubling to Mr. Xi because the details could reflect widespread discontent or insubordination among the top brass of the People’s Liberation Army.

“I think we can expect a comprehensive investigation of the military, not just the Rocket Force but also other areas,” Yang Tao said of the Chinese military.

Earlier this month, Mr. Xi stressed his determination to root out misconduct and perceived disloyalty in China’s military when he met with military leaders in Yan’an, an officially sacred site in northwest China where Mao Zedong assembled his troops during the revolution and the war against Japan.

Xi Jinping held a similar “political work” meeting for the military in 2014, when he worked to root out decades of corruption, including the buying and selling of official positions.

But clearly, problems remain. On his recent trips abroad, Xi Jinping drew on the spirit of Mao Zedong’s army for inspiration and warning.

“All military leaders should bear in mind the original aspiration of the founding of the army and take the lead in carrying forward the Yan’an spirit,” Xi said, according to official sources. Summary of the three-day meeting“Ensure that the people’s army always maintains its essence and mission, and always dares to fight and win.”

The military is crucial to Xi’s political power and his vision of making China a global power.

At home, the PLA is a pillar of the Communist Party’s dominance and is absolutely loyal to Xi. Abroad, the military is key to Xi’s efforts to exert influence in the Asia-Pacific region and undermine U.S. dominance. The PLA is also crucial to China’s efforts to annex Taiwan, a democratic island about 100 miles off the mainland coast that Beijing claims as its territory.

But Taiwanese military expert Yang Tao said the fall of the two former defense ministers showed that Xi’s ability to select and promote suitable commanders may be questioned within the PLA.

General Li, 66 years old, engineer, Promotion He has extensive experience in rockets, weapons development and China’s manned space program. He was the first deputy commander of the Strategic Support Force, which was created by Xi Jinping in late 2015 as part of China’s military reorganization. In April this year, Xi Jinping breaks the rule of force Divided into three separate units.

General Wei, 70 years old, The first commander The Rocket Force, custodian of most of China’s nuclear weapons and thousands of conventional missiles, was established by Xi Jinping in late 2015 as an upgrade of the former Second Artillery Corps.

“They were all promoted by him, so how can he say he chose the right people?” Mr. Yang said. Still, Mr. Yang said he did not foresee major disruptions to China’s plans to build more warships, aircraft and missiles.

“Xi Jinping’s goal is to build the most efficient military,” Mr. Yang said. “That will not change.”

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