China to prosecute former top officer for graft

KONFRONTASI-China will prosecute a former top military officer for corruption, the government said on Thursday, the second senior officer to be investigated, as President Xi Jinping widens his campaign against deep-rooted graft in the country.

Guo Boxiong, 73, was a vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission until he stepped down in 2012.

Sources had previously told Reuters that Guo was being investigated, but had also said he may not face prosecution as he has cancer.

His case follows that of Xu Caihou, who was also a Central Military Commission vice chairman at the same time as Guo, and died of bladder cancer in March. The government said in October that Xu had confessed to taking "massive" bribes in exchange for help in promotions.

A statement published by the official Xinhua news agency and carried on the Defence Ministry's website said that an investigation found Guo abused his position "to seek promotion and other benefits for others and accepted bribes personally or through his family".

"His acts seriously violated the Communist Party's discipline and had a vile impact," it said.

Guo was put under investigation on April 9, the statement added.

His major general son, Guo Zhenggang, was put under investigation in early March.

It has not been possible to reach either Guo for comment and it is not clear if either of them have lawyers.[mr/reuters]