On October 16, China’s state news agency Xinhua announced that Fang Fenghui and Zhang Yang, two former top general in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, were officially expelled from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Both fallen generals had been stripped of their ranks earlier by the Central Military Commission (CMC), the highest body that controls the Chinese military.
As The Diplomat has been closely following, the fall of both senior generals was verified several months ago.
Last November, Xinhua revealed that Zhang Yang, 66, a former member of the CMC, “hanged himself at home” on the morning of November 23 while under a corruption investigation. He is the highest-ranking military official to commit suicide under the anti-corruption campaign launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping. China’s military’s official mouthpiece, the People’s Liberation Army Daily, condemned Zhang for “ending his life in such a shameful way.”
This January, Xinhua made public that Fang Fenghui, 67, a former member of the CMC and former chief of staff of the CMC Joint Staff Department, was “transferred to the military prosecution authority on suspicion of offering and accepting bribes.”
In the latest statement, Xinhua said Zhang had “seriously violated the Party’s political discipline and political rules.” Under “suspicion of offering and accepting bribes,” Zhang had “huge amount of unexplained wealth.”
“Zhang attempted to escape punishment through committing suicide. This has seriously damaged the Party and the army, and tarnished the image of the military and the leadership,” the statement continued. “Approved by the Central Party Committee and the CMC, Zhang Yang was expelled from the Party and his property will be confiscated according to the law.”
In another statement, Xinhua announced that Fang Fenghui had also “seriously violated the Party’s political discipline and political rules.” Fang, too, is on “suspicion of offering and accepting bribes” and has “huge amount of unexplained wealth.”
“The amount is extremely large,” the statement added. “The military procuratorate has completed the investigation on Fang Fenghui and his case has been transferred to the prosecutor.”
Notably, according to Xinhua, both men were accused of being “two-faced,” “disloyal and dishonest to the Party,” and “corrupted in politics and greedy in wealth.”
As The Diplomat reported previously, Fang and Zhang had worked closely as colleagues for decades in the military. Both also had close links to Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, the two highest ranking military officers to have been brought down under the anti-corruption campaign launched by Xi Jinping. Xu died of cancer in 2015 before he could face trial; Guo was sentenced to life imprisonment for bribery in 2016.
Since the close of the 19th Party Congress, Xi has been centralizing his personal power over the military as well as the whole Party. Meanwhile, the military has been constantly calling for “eliminating the baneful influence of Guo and Xu,” as the two men had controlled the Chinese military for more than a decade. Zhang and Fang apparently have been categorized by the Chinese authorities as a part of Guo and Xu’s “baneful influence.”