Missing Chinese General Found Dead in Apparent Suicide

Zhang Yang, then head of General Political Department of the People’s Liberation Army, in Beijing in 2014. Credit China Stringer Network, via Reuters

BEIJING — A Chinese general who disappeared from public view during an investigation into corruption by senior military commanders was found dead at his home in Beijing after apparently committing suicide, state media said on Tuesday.

The general, Zhang Yang, committed suicide on Nov. 23, the state-run Xinhua news agency said, citing China’s Central Military Commission. The Xinhua report said Mr. Zhang was living at home while he was being questioned in connection with unspecified corruption charges.

Mr. Zhang, 66, who had been director of the political department of the People’s Liberation Army, disappeared from public sight more than two months ago amid a crackdown on corruption by President Xi Jinping. Besides Mr. Zhang, Gen. Fang Fenghui, a rising star in the Chinese military, also vanished from public view.

Mr. Zhang committed “serious violations of discipline and the law and was suspected of the crimes of bribery as well as huge amounts of assets in which the sources are unknown,” the Xinhua report said.

The Xinhua report said that at the time of his death, Mr. Zhang was being investigated for links to Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, the two highest-ranking army commanders netted so far in Mr. Xi’s crackdown. Mr. Xi has used the sweeping anti-graft campaign to remove dozens of generals and tighten his control over the military, one of China’s most powerful institutions.

Mr. Guo was given a life sentence last year after a military court found him guilty of taking bribes in return for giving promotions and transfers. Mr. Xu died in 2015 of bladder cancer while awaiting a corruption trial.

Mr. Xi has used the crackdown to modernize the People’s Liberation Armyby ridding it of endemic corruption and elevating the professionalism of its officer corps, as older generals are replaced by younger officers more supportive of change.

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