Senior Chinese commander expelled

Last updated 23:52 30/06/2014

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Chinese President Xi Jinping struck a key blow in his fight against pervasive graft on Monday with the expulsion from the Communist Party of a former high-ranking military commander who had risen to near the very apex of power in China.

Xu Caihou, who retired as vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission last year and from the party's decision-making Politburo in 2012, is the highest-ranking military officer to be accused of corruption in China.

Xu will be handed over for a court martial after being accused of taking bribes, the official Xinhua news agency said.

''The party will never allow a hiding place for corrupt elements, the military will also never allow corrupt elements any place to hide,'' Xinhua said.

Both the party and the army, the agency said, had to understand ''the long-term, complicated and arduous battle against corruption, and the need for the fight against corruption to be put in a more prominent position''.''

Upon investigation, Xu Caihou took advantage of his office, helped others be promoted to positions and accepted bribes directly or through his family, used his position to influence others for profit and his family members accepted valuables from others.

''Xu has been under virtual house arrest for months while helping in the probe into Gu Junshan, who has been under investigation for corruption since he was sacked as deputy director of the logistics department of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in 2012, sources have previously told Reuters.

Gu was charged with corruption earlier this year.Reuters has not been able to reach either Xu or Gu for comment.

It is not clear whether they have lawyers.The Xinhua dispatch made no mention of Gu.

President Xi has launched a sweeping campaign against graft since becoming party chief in late 2012 and president last year, vowing to take down powerful ''tigers'' as well as lowly ''flies''.

Xu is the most senior person to have been felled to date.

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- Reuters

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