Investigations into suspects who had connections with Xu Caihou - the former No 2 military official who died of cancer this month while facing a corruption probe - will continue to the end, a Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
The remarks from ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng dispel suspicions that the death of Xu might hinder investigation into the sprawling wrongdoings centred around him and others.
Xu, the former vice-chairman of the People's Liberation Army who was placed under investigation for allegedly accepting massive bribes, died of bladder cancer on March 15. Media reports said authorities found a ton of bank notes in Xu's home.
China's Military Procuratorate will drop charges against Xu because of his death, but his ill-gotten gains will be handled according to the law, Geng said.
"As for others who were involved in the Xu Caihou graft case, we will continue investigations in accordance with the law until the end, with zero tolerance for them," Geng told reporters at a regular news briefing in Beijing.
According to Geng, the PLA has clearly shown its attitude toward corrupt officials by cracking down on "tigers" and "flies", referring to high- and low-ranking corrupt officials.
More than a dozen senior PLA officials have faced serious corruption charges during the nation's anti-graft drive, including Gu Junshan, deputy head of the PLA General Logistics Department and Yang Jinshan, lieutenant general of the PLA ground force and former deputy commander of the Chengdu Military Command.
A list was released in early March naming 14 senior military officers who are being investigated for suspected corruption, including the son of Guo Boxiong, who retired as vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission in 2013.
The list is the second of its kind this year.
Ren Jianming, a professor of clean-governance research at Beihang University in Beijing, said the spokesman's remarks dispelled previous concerns about whether all the people involved in Xu's case would be probed.
"The response shows the top leadership's determination in the anti-corruption campaign," he said.
According to Ren, the investigations will encounter little resistance and be conducted in a thorough way, given that the big "tiger" is gone.
Zhu Lijia, a professor of the National Academy of Governance, said there is no doubt that related probes should be continued despite the death of Xu.
"The anti-corruption campaign in the military is closely related with national defence security.
"It is impossible for an army with corruption to achieve victory in battle," he said.