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Chinese general kills himself amid corruption probe

BEIJING: A prominent Chinese general under investigation for corruption has committed suicide, state media said on Tuesday, the latest development in a sweeping anti-graft campaign that has shaken the armed forces.

Zhang Yang (pictured), a former member of the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC), was being investigated over links to disgraced generals Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The investigation into Zhang, 66, had verified that he “gravely violated discipline”, was “suspected of giving and taking bribes” and the origin of a huge amount of assets was unclear, Xinhua said, citing the commission.

“On the afternoon of November 23, Zhang Yang hanged himself at home,” the agency said.

A suicide by an officer who held such a senior post is rare, though experts have said the frequency of officials from various levels of government taking their own lives may have increased as a result of the intensity of the corruption crackdown since President Xi Jinping took power five years ago.

A commentary carried on both the Defence Ministry and military’s official websites said the CMC decided on August 28 to investigate Zhang, who had “lost his moral bottom line” and used suicide as a means to “escape punishment from the party and country”, an “extremely abominable act”.

“This former general of high position and great power used this shameful way to end his own life,” the commentary said.

Sources had said that Zhang, who had served as director of the military’s Political Work Department, had been subject to an investigation, but the government had not announced it.

Zhang’s downfall was foreshadowed in September when he failed to make a list of 303 military delegates to the ruling Communist Party’s key five-yearly congress, along with fellow CMC member Fang Fenghui. — Reuters

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