December 10, 2015 / 11:31 AM / 2 years ago

China to prosecute another former military logistics officer

BEIJING (Reuters) - A former senior Chinese army logistics officer will be prosecuted on suspicion of breaking the law, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday, apparently the latest military official caught up in an anti-graft campaign.

President Xi Jinping has made weeding out corruption in the military a top goal, with serving and retired officers warning that graft is so pervasive it could undermine the country’s ability to wage war.

Military prosecutors have begun preparing their case against Li Mingquan, who was in charge of an equipment division at the military’s powerful General Logistics Department, on suspicion of “serious violations of the law”, the ministry said.

It provided no other details and it was not possible to reach Li for comment.

A Chinese military court in August sentenced former lieutenant general Gu Junshan, who had been deputy director of the logistics department, to death with a two-year reprieve for crimes, including bribery, abuse of power and misuse of public funds.

The reprieve usually means the death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment after two years’ good behavior.

Gu had been charged in 2014 on suspicion of selling hundreds of military positions, in a case linked to that of Xu Caihou, a former vice chairman of the elite Central Military Commission who the government said had confessed to taking “massive” bribes in exchange for help in promotions.

China intensified its crackdown on corruption in the military in the late 1990s, banning the People’s Liberation Army from engaging in business.

But the military has been involved in commercial dealings in recent years due to a lack of checks and balances, military analysts have said.

The anti-graft drive has brought down several other senior military officers, including Guo Boxiong, also once a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel

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