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Top China military commander gets life term for corruption

IANS Beijing
Updated: 20-02-2019 19:31 IST

Top China military commander gets life term for corruption

A military court on Wednesday sentenced Fang Fenghui, former Chief of Staff of China's Central Military Commission Joint Staff Department, to life imprisonment on charges of corruption. Fang was found guilty of accepting and offering bribes and acquiring properties from unidentified sources, according to the court verdict.

The court also stripped him of his political rights for life and confiscated his properties along with the money he had acquired illegally, Xinhua news agency reported. They will be turned over to the state coffers. Fang was at one time the youngest commander of one of the military regions of the People's Liberation Army. In August 2017, he led a key meeting with General Joseph Dunford, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where the two discussed strengthening military ties and exchanges between the two sides.

They had also discussed China's maritime disputes in the South China Sea with neighbouring countries, Taiwan and growing tension on the Korean Peninsula over North Korea's repeated nuclear and missile tests. However, Fang could not escape the claws of the anti-corruption campaign kicked off by Chinese President Xi Jinping after he took office in 2013.

The campaign led to arrest of thousands of officials of the Communist Party of China, including some of the most powerful political and military leaders. Dozens of high-ranking military officers have been probed and sentenced for corruption, including Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong, both former Vice-Chairmen of the Central Military Commission.

Guo was given life imprisonment in 2017, while Xu died of cancer in 2015 before he could face trial. In October, China arrested Meng Wonghei, a former chief of Interpol, for accepting bribes. Meng was reported missing by his wife in September after he had travelled to China from France, where he had been working as the Interpol chief since 2016.

Beijing later announced his arrest and the Interpol said he had resigned from his post.

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