China’s top military official, General Xu Caihou, has been accused of accepting bribes and expelled from the Communist Party, state media report.
Gen. Xu Caihou was once a member of China’s elite decision-making body, the Politburo. He will now be handed over to prosecutors for a court martial.
Xu Caihou is believed to have been held under house arrest for several months.
Analysts say this could be the biggest military scandal China has seen for many years.
Xinhua agency reported that China’s President Xi Jinping had presided over a Politburo meeting about military discipline and approved the decision to expel Gen. Xu Caihou and hand him over to military prosecutors.
Rumors about the investigation into Gen. Xu Caihou had circulated for months. Many believed poor health – he is reported to have been treated for cancer – would save him from prosecution.
However, this move is being presented in state media as part of the government’s battle against corruption.
Two other high profile figures were also expelled from the Communist Party for corruption on Monday – Jiang Jiemin, the former head of the state asset regulator, and Wang Yongchun, the deputy head of the state energy giant China National Petroleum Company (CNPC).
The spate of expulsions comes at a time when speculation is rife about the fate of one of China’s most powerful politicians, former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, who is allegedly being investigated over allegations of corruption and abuse of power.
Tens of thousands of officials have been arrested since President Xi Jinping began an anti-corruption campaign in 2012.
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