Xu Caihou, AKA a “military tiger” AKA the former vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, has been getting quite a lot off his chest. The disgraced army man has confessed to accepting bribes and abusing his power, making him one of the highest-profile figures in China’s military to be caught during Xi Jinping’s campaign on corruption.
Xu, who confessed to taking amounts that a statement to the press revealed to be “extremely huge,” has been stripped of his general rank and expelled from the Communist party.
In a statement to the press, President Xi Jinping reiterated that his office has zero tolerance for corruption. As a part of his ban on the extravagant banquets, gifts, and perks that have long frustrated the country’s residents, his campaign goes after corruption perpetrated by both “tigers and flies,” big officials and small officials alike. Many believed Xi would let the 71-year-old Xu off the hook in light of his recent diagnosis of terminal bladder cancer, but this recent confession proves otherwise. Though Xu is retired and likely no longer a threat, his denouncement sends a clear message to China and to the world: the President is on a tiger hunt, and no one in the jungle is safe.
The allegations against Xu (and others) were made public late last June. Three other former senior officials were expelled from the Communist Party for corruption at that time: Jiang Jiemin, former minister in charge of state assets; Li Dongsheng, former vice minister of public security; and Wang Yongchun, a former deputy head of state-owned oil company China National Petroleum Corporation. Many speculate that these corrupted “tigers” are just paw-ns in an ongoing investigation of Zhou Yongkang, former domestic security tsar, who served as mentor for Jiang, Li and Wang. If brought up in charges, Zhou will be the highest-ranking official facing corruption accusations in the history of the People’s Republic. Forget Ahab’s great white whale, it seems Zhou is the President’s great white Bengal tiger.
By Briel Waxman