China ex-general admits taking bribes for promotions: Xinhua

China ex-general admits taking bribes for promotions: Xinhua

BEIJING - A retired general ensnared in a high-profile corruption drive launched by Chinese Communist chief Xi Jinping has admitted taking "extremely huge" bribes in return for army promotions, state media said Tuesday.

Xu Caihou, formerly China's second-highest ranking officer as vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, "was found taking advantage of his position to assist the promotion of other people", Xinhua news agency said, citing military prosecutors.

Xu, who was until 2012 a member of the Communist Party's elite 25-strong Politburo, is the first of its former members to fall in Xi's crackdown.

The announcement came as part of the decisions of the Fourth Plenum meeting of the ruling party's Central Committee.

But the lengthy document made no mention of Zhou Yongkang, the powerful former security chief whose investigation was announced in July.

He is the most senior member of the Communist Party to be investigated since the infamous Gang of Four were put on trial in 1980.

The plenum had expelled several of Zhou's top allies from the party, an announcement last week said, and the absence of news on his fate may indicate divisions at the top of the organisation.

Xu was stripped of his party membership in June when he had his case handed over to prosecutors.

Xinhua's report Tuesday said he had been discharged from the military and his rank of general was "revoked".

"He was also found to have sought profits for others in exchange for bribes taken through his family members," the report said, adding the amount "was extremely huge".

Military prosecutors have completed their investigation and were preparing to file it, Xinhua added, indicating that there would be a trial.

Communist Party authorities have been waging a much-publicised anti-graft campaign since Xi ascended to the leadership two years ago.

But critics say no systemic reforms have been introduced to increase transparency to help battle endemic corruption.

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