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China: targets woman general as graft investigation widens

China’s military is investigating another top officer in its widening crackdown on corruption, a woman major-general with a senior post at an army university, financial news magazine Caixin reported on Thursday.

Gao Xiaoyan, Communist Party boss of the discipline committee at the People’s Liberation Army Information Engineering University, was taken away by military investigators on Nov. 27 and her house searched and sealed off, Caixin said.

She is suspected of taking bribes related to a constructi pon project at a military hospital, added the report, which was widely carried by Chinese news websites.

The Defence Ministry did not respond to a request for comment. It was not possible to reach Gao for comment.

Caixin said Gao joined the army in 1974 at the age of 17 and mostly held political posts during her career, becoming one of just a few women to hold such a senior position.

She has also had articles published in major state media, such as the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily and the military’s PLA Daily, it added.

Weeding out corruption in the military is a top goal of President Xi Jinping, chairman of the Central Military Commission, which controls China’s 2.3 million-strong armed forces.

Serving and retired Chinese military officers have said military graft is so pervasive it could undermine China’s ability to wage war.

In October, the government said one of China’s most senior former military officers had confessed to taking “massive” bribes in exchange for help in promotions.

Xu Caihou, whose graft probe was announced in June, retired as vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission last year and from the ruling Communist Party’s decision-making Politburo in 2012.

Xu has been under virtual house arrest for months while helping in an investigation into Gu Junshan, who has been under scrutiny for corruption since being sacked as deputy director of the logistics department of the People’s Liberation Army in 2012, sources previously told Reuters.

Gu was charged with corruption earlier this year.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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