Official figure just a small fraction of how much money China’s disgraced retired military chief Guo Boxiong actually received, source close to People’s Liberation Army reveals
Web of influence: Guo Boxiong’s connections with China’s military top brass
China’s former top general who used to run the world’s largest army has been charged with taking bribes totalling 80 million yuan (HK$96 million), a source close to senior military officials told the South China Morning Post.
Guo Boxiong, the retired military chief of the People’s Liberation Army, had been under investigation for corruption since last year and was expelled from the Communist Party in July.
Guo, 74, a former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, is the highest-ranking military official to be netted in President Xi Jinping’s far-reaching corruption crackdown.
Military prosecutors had wrapped up the criminal probe into Guo and the case had been filed to a court, the source said.
Senior officials and others have been briefed on the matter over the past week.
According to the source, military prosecutors had played down the amount of money involved in Guo’s case. The official number was just a small fraction of the amount Guo actually received, the source said.
Recent trials of top officials on graft charges have often involved bribes paid to the family members or close aides of the officials, rather than directly to the officials themselves. The trial of former Politburo member Bo Xilai, whose wife Gu Kailai was involved in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, found that most of the 20 million yuan in illicit gains Bo received had been channelled through Gu or other family members.
Party protocol dictates that all departments at the ministerial level are briefed about cases such as Guo’s.
On Friday, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said on its website it had been briefed on Guo’s case and that it underlined the party’s principle of “zero tolerance towards corruption”.
The article – the first official confirmation of a briefing – was later modified, with the part referring to Guo’s case removed.
The party began investigating Guo last April. The probe was made public three months later when he was sacked from the party and handed to prosecutors from the PLA’s disciplinary watchdog.
As the powerful CMC’s first-ranking deputy, Guo was in charge of the day-to-day operations of the world’s largest army for a decade.
He had a power base in the Lanzhou Military Command, the largest of the seven commands that made up the PLA before the system was overhauled this year.
The command oversaw five far-western provinces and regions, including Xinjiang.
Guo’s case is likely to be heard in a closed-door military court.
Associates of Guo have also been investigated for corruption in the past two years, including his son Guo Zhenggang and long-time subordinate Fan Changmi.
Former general Xu Caihou, who was the commission’s second-ranking vice-chairman after Guo, was detained in a corruption investigation in March 2014. He was expelled from the party in June that year and died of cancer in March last year awaiting prosecution.