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Crackdown on PLA corruption targets former regional commander

The top officer overseeing operations in the former Jinan military command is being investigated for corruption as part of a crackdown on senior figures in the People’s Liberation Army, according to a media report.

Major General Zhang Ming, the chief of staff with the Jinan command before it was dissolved in January, resigned as a delegate to the National People’s Congress (NPC) in early July.

Zhang tendered his resignation after he was found to be in violation of Communist Party discipline and state law, a well known euphemism for corruption, said Thepaper.cn citing a report from the NPC.

Rooting out PLA corruption is helping Xi Jinping to build his power base

Zhang’s downfall comes amid a number of investigations in recent months of top PLA brass, including General Tian Xiusi, former political commissar for the PLA Air Force.

There is also widespread speculation about the detention of others, such as General Wang ­Jianping, a deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department under the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC).

Zhang, 59, had been the founding chief of the Strategic Planning Department under the former General Staff Headquarters before being promoted to the chief of staff in the former Jinan command in December 2014.

In a bid to boost the combat strength of the PLA, President Xi Jinping – also the head of the CMC – has been sparing no effort in a fight against rampant corruption in the PLA.

Xi pledges to strike hard against PLA corruption

Since coming to power in late 2012, Xi has brought down dozens of generals, including at least 11 serving or retired top military leaders – such as generals Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, both of whom were former vice-chairmen of the CMC.

Zhang, a Liaoning native, was at one time the deputy chief of staff of the 38th Army Corps, which is now part of the Central Theatre Command.

He later joined the teaching staff at the University of National Defence, and his career also included stints as the deputy head of the operations department and chief of the army’s aviation department under the former General Staff Headquarters.

Chinese President Xi Jinping faces risks as he pushes ahead with reform to PLA’s military structure

As part of the most extensive military reform since the foundation of the people’s republic in 1949, the seven military commands – Beijing, Shenyang, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Chengdu and Guangzhou – have been replaced by five theatres – Central, North, South, East and West.