Top Chinese general Guo Boxiong jailed for life for taking bribes

BEIJING: Former top Chinese military leader Guo Boxiong was sentenced on Monday to life in prison for accepting bribes, the official Xinhua news agency said – the latest high-profile conviction in president Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption.

For a decade, Guo was one of the two vice-chairmen of the Central Military Commission, second only to China’s president in the top body of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). He retired in 2012 and was expelled from the ruling Communist party last year.

His fall comes as Xi seeks to consolidate his power and enhance his control over the PLA, the world’s largest military and technically the armed force of the ruling party rather than the Chinese state.

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In addition to receiving a life sentence, Guo was also deprived of his political rights for life and stripped of his rank of general, Xinhua said, citing a military court. His personal assets were also seized.

“The amount of bribes Guo Boxiong received was especially large, and the circumstances of his crimes were especially grave,” a military court official told Xinhua.

The trial was closed because it “touched on military secrets”, the official, whose identity was not provided, added.

In April, Xinhua reported that Guo had “confessed” to taking bribes, having read and signed transcripts of interrogations undertaken by the military procuratorate.

Xi’s widely publicised anti-corruption campaign – which critics say has been used for factional infighting – has ensnared the late Xu Caihou, the previous No 3figure in the PLA, among a long list of other high-ranking military officers.

China’s military has significant business interests in sectors ranging from property and logistics to telecommunications and healthcare, which have become a hotbed for corruption.