In an attempt to prove that “the military is not above the law,” the Chinese government announced this week that 14 generals had been either investigated or already convicted of an array of corruption crimes, from selling positions within the military to arms trading.
Xinhua reported on Monday that 14 generals– described as “tigers” caught in corruption traps– had been investigated or convicted. “No one has impunity,” spokesman Lyu Xinhua is quoted as stating, vowing more investigations and arrests of corrupt officials. Lyu asserted that the government was equally interested in these “tigers” as it was in “flies”– lower-level officials committing smaller acts of corruption, like unauthorized use of government amenities, reports the People’s Daily.
The report notes Xu Caihou, a former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), as being the highest-ranking official convicted of corruption, and notes Guo Zhenggang, deputy political commissar of Zhejiang provincial military command, as among the most notable in the group.
The Wall Street Journal notes that many of those named had “been the subject of rumors for months,” as the investigations had begun late last year, but this is the first confirmation that those mentioned in rumors were actually being investigated and found guilty of corrupt crimes.
The Epoch Times notes that Guo is part of a larger family of Chinese communist officials, many of whom have found themselves in trouble with the law. “Before being sacked, Guo Zhenggang was basically rising up as if riding on a rocket,” according to the People’s Daily, as his father was also a general. He was found guilty of selling arms illegally. His sister, meanwhile, was found guilty of real estate fraud.
Guo’s father, also a general, was found guilty of selling military positions for money: “5 million yuan (about $800,410) for the rank of major general and 10 million yuan (about $1.6 million) for a post of lieutenant general.”
In addition to these “tigers,” the People’s Daily reported today that the federal government had punished 39 “flies” in the past two years, all lawmakers in the national legislature stripped of their position over a variety of corruption crimes. “A people’s congress deputy should neither stand idle while occupying the elected position nor violate laws and disciplines,” said spokeswoman Fu Ying. The paper notes that 90% of legislators in the nation are “lower than the county level” and afforded little power in the centralized communist system.
The corrupt sweeps follow a year in which President Xi Jinping vowed to make fighting graft a staple of his tenure. In October, Xi announced a “mass line” campaign to eradicate party “indiscipline,” using Maoist language referring to the first line of defense of a communist nation (the “mass line”). In the months following that announcement, “discipline inspectors” began opening cases against officials believed to be corrupt, ensnaring diplomats and generals alike. As recently as last week, 2,000 people were arrested on corruption charges for violating “anti-graft” rules.