The ouster of one of China’s top military figures reflects Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s determination to impose his personal authority far more ambitiously than his recent predecessors.
Since being appointed party leader in late 2012, Xi has moved aggressively to make his personal stamp with campaigns against graft and official waste and by waging an offensive against liberal, Western ideas. Party and government officials and managers of state companies have fallen. Advocates for official transparency and a fairer society have been jailed.
In possibly his boldest move so far, Xi struck Monday at the core of the military elite when the ruling party expelled Xu Caihou (Shoo Tseye-hoh) a retired general who had been deputy chairman of its Central Military Commission, which controls the Chinese military. The party said Xu would face charges in a military court of taking money and property in exchange for promotions and other favors.
Xi has tried to establish his authority over the People’s Liberation Army more quickly and effectively than his predecessors Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin and to show he is willing to tackle corruption in the politically influential military.
“The investigation started in March, so it took barely three months for Xu to be expelled from the party,” said Dali Yang, an expert in Chinese politics at the University of Chicago.
“It really shows a remarkable ability by Xi and his colleagues and also a very strong signal to try to clean up the military and to make the military a force that’s focused on military matters rather than promotions and corruption.”
The dozens of officials ensnared in the crackdown, including Cabinet figures and former executives of state-owned energy giant PetroChina Ltd., make continued…