A senior Chinese military officer being investigated for corruption killed himself, state media revealed Tuesday.
Gen. Zhang Yang, former head of the Central Military Commission’s political department, disappeared around two months ago after being swept up in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, which has led to the investigation and punishment of over one million Chinese officials. He was found dead in his home in Beijing, with Chinese state media reporting that he apparently committed suicide.
Zhang was charged with committing “seriously violated discipline and law,” Xinhua News Agency reported. “He was also suspected of offering and accepting bribes and holding a huge amount of property from unidentified sources,” it added. A People’s Liberation Army commentary reportedly condemned Zhang for ending his life rather than facing punishment. “Evading the punishment of Party discipline and law by committing suicide was disgusting conduct,” the piece read.
The general is actually one of several high-ranking Chinese military officers to kill themselves amid China’s extensive corruption crackdown.
Vice Adm. Ma Faxiang, a senior Navy officer, jumped to his death from a military building in Beijing in 2014. Authorities suspect that he was connected to Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong, two high-ranking military commanders brought down for alleged corruption. Zhang’s suspected involvement in corrupt activities is believed to be a residual effect of Xu and Guo’s “pernicious” dealings, state media reported.
Rear Adm. Jiang Zhonghua jumped off his hotel building just two months before Ma, and Major Gen. Chen Jie was found dead in his barracks last year after reportedly overdosing on sleeping pills, according to the South China Morning Post.
Speaking at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October, Xi described the anti-corruption campaign as a “crushing tide,” stating, that the party must “remain as firm as a rock … and secure sweeping victory.” Purges in the military are becoming more common as Chinese leadership pushes ahead with plans to enhance and modernize the Chinese armed forces.
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