Fang Fenghui, one of the highest-ranking military officers, has been placed under investigation by prosecutors, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.
Fang, former chief of the Central Military Commission’s Joint Staff Department, has been handed over to military prosecutors for suspected crimes of offering and taking bribes, the report said, without providing more details.
This announcement put an end to the widely circulating speculation about Fang’s whereabouts since Aug 21 when he appeared in public for the last time. Five days later, the military said General Li Zuocheng had replaced Fang as the PLA’s chief of staff.
Fang, 66, a native of Shaanxi province, enlisted in the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force in 1968 and spent more than 30 years as he moved up through ranks at multiple units stationed in northwestern China.
In 2003, Fang was appointed chief of staff of the former Guangzhou Military Command and about four years later became commander of the former Beijing Military Command, in which post he organized a grand National Day parade in Beijing in 2009 that marked the People’s Republic’s 60th birthday.
In late 2012, he was named chief of the former General Staff Headquarters and soon promoted to a member of the Central Military Commission. In early 2016, his title was changed to the chief of the commission’s Joint Staff Department, which replaced the General Staff Headquarters.
Fang was also member of both the 17th and 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
Six week ago, Fang’s colleague in the Central Military Commission and head of the commission’s Political Work Department, General Zhang Yang, committed suicide at his home in Beijing amid ongoing probe into his involvement in giving and taking bribes, according to the official release. Zhang was 66.