China

China ex-general Gu Junshan sentenced over corruption

The former Henan residence of Gu Junshan Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Investigators seized gold statues from one of Gu Junshan's mansions

A former Chinese army general has been given a suspended death sentence for crimes including bribery, abuse of power and misuse of public funds.

Gu Junshan is one of the highest-ranking officers to be tried since the president's crackdown on corruption in the military.

He had power over procurement and contracts. His misuse of funds was "immense", an official said.

Suspended death sentences are usually commuted to life imprisonment in China.

State news agency Xinhua reported that Gu, who was removed from his post of deputy logistics chief in 2012, has been stripped of his rank of lieutenant general and had both his personal assets and the proceeds of his illicit dealings confiscated.

In 2013, investigators seized four truckloads of items including gold statues and cases of high-end spirits from one of Gu's mansions.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gu's case was linked to that of Xu Caihou, a former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission

In April last year it was announced he would be tried in a military court - which is extremely rare for senior military figures.

"The military court determined the amount of bribes Gu Junshan accepted was huge, the harmful consequences especially grave, the amount of misappropriated public funds immense, and the details of his abuse of power especially serious," an unnamed military court official said in a statement on the Defence Ministry's website.

A commentary on the website said: "For leading cadres at all levels, this is a profound warning to remember that the 'perks' given to you today are just the 'bomb' that will destroy you tomorrow."

Gu's case was linked to that of Xu Caihou, a former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission and a member of the powerful Politburo.

The government said he confessed to taking "massive" bribes in exchange for assisting with promotions. He died of cancer in March.

President Xi Jinping, who is also head of the armed forces, has made cracking down on military corruption a major part of his drive against against graft in the government and ruling Communist Party.

However, China has also put several prominent anti-corruption activists on trial, a move that human rights groups have described as hypocritical.

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