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China's former defence minister demoted for corruption


Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

China's former high-profile defence minister General Chang Wanquan has been demoted for his involvement in the corruption, according to a media report.

The 70-year-old General was a powerful military official until his retirement last year.

Chang, who was also the State Councillor - a powerful post in the CPC - besides being the defence minister, was demoted for his involvement in the corruption that brought down two disgraced former powerful military officials, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Thursday.

He was demoted two grades to a deputy regional commander-level officer because of his close relationship with former vice-chairmen of the Central Military Commission (CMC) Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou who faced serious corruption charges, the Post reported.

While Xu died of cancer, Guo is serving a life sentence.

The CMC which is the overall high command of the PLA is now headed by President Xi Jinping.

There was no official announcement of Chang's demotion, but military insiders said that the downgrading of his retirement benefits indicated his reduction in military rank, the report said.

Senior military officials of Lieutenant General rank or above were entitled to live in a stand-alone house.

"Chang's residence was moved to two apartments in the former armoured force's complex in Haidian District, indicating that his retirement benefit was downgraded to be parallel to a deputy regional military commander," the Post reported.

"His demotion was related to the downfall of Guo and Xu during President Xi's anti-graft campaign," the paper quoted an official as saying.

In the People's Liberation Army (PLA), all senior officials with Major General rank and above enjoy lifelong honours and related benefits, so Chang's military rank would have been demoted when his treatment was downgraded, the paper quoted an "insider" as saying.

Dozens of top military officials have either been sacked or prosecuted under the massive anti-corruption campaign launched by President Xi since he took over power in 2012.

Over a million officials all over China have been punished for corruption and misuse of power under Xi's anti-graft campaign, which critics say also helped him to consolidate his power.

Xi, currently in his second five year tenure, has emerged as the powerful leader after Chairman Mao Zedong and now heads the ruling Communist Party of China, the military and the Presidency.

His anti-corruption campaign, especially against the top echelons of the PLA, also ensured the two million-strong military functioned strictly under the supervision of his leadership and the CPC.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Thu, July 11 2019. 19:20 IST