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A former chief of staff of China's military is under investigation on "suspicion of bribery", state media said today, as Xi Jinping's sweeping anti-graft crackdown claimed another top general. Fang Fenghui was appointed to the PLA's top post in 2012.
But he was abruptly replaced in late August amid a stand-off with India over a territorial dispute and just days after he had met US top brass to discuss North Korea. The general has been "transferred to the military prosecution authority on suspicion of bribery" said Xinhua news agency without providing further details. Fang was one of two senior generals who did not appear on a list of delegates to the Communist Party's twice-a-decade congress last October, sparking speculation he had run afoul of Xi's anti-corruption campaign. The other, Zhang Yang, committed suicide in Beijing in November after being investigated over connections to two graft-tainted former senior military officers. Xinhua said the state military commission decided to hold "talks" with Zhang on August 28 -- just days after Fang's removal -- about his links to Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, top army officials who were expelled from the ruling party. Xi promised during October's party congress to intensify graft crackdowns which since 2012 have brought down 1.5 million party officials at various levels -- including top military leadership. Corruption has long been an intractable problem for the country, but many experts argue that the campaign has the hallmarks of a political purge as the Chinese president consolidates his power. Xi has sought to enhance his control over the two- million-strong military, the world's largest, reshuffling its leadership and vowing to make it "world-class" by 2050. In November the military was ordered to pledge to be "absolutely loyal, honest and reliable to Xi" in new guidelines released by the Central Military Commission.
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