Senior Chinese military official commits suicide amid corruption probe

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A senior Chinese military official committed suicide last week while being investigated for corruption, the defense ministry said on Tuesday, the latest development in the anti-corruption campaign under President Xi Jinping.

Zhang Yang, a member of the powerful Central Military Commission, hanged himself at his home in the capital Beijing on Thursday, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. It came less than a month after Zhang was questioned by investigators.

The senior official, who previously served as the head of the Political Work Department of the Central Military Commission, was being investigated for his involvement in the cases of generals Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, who were both accused of corruption.

The investigation showed that Zhang had “seriously violated” the law and discipline, according to China’s Defense Ministry. He was suspected of offering and accepting bribes and holding a “huge amount” of property from unidentified sources, believed to be the proceeds of crime.

Old articles that mentioned Zhang have been deleted from Xinhua’s website, which reported in 2015 that Zhang had praised the fight against corruption and called for the law to be strictly enforced. Another article said Zhang attended a meeting of military officials in June.

Commentary posted on the website of the Defense Ministry accused Zhang of committing suicide to escape punishment, calling it a “shameful way” to end his life. “He would shout loyalty from his mouth but was corrupt behind other people’s backs, a typical two-faced man,” it said.

Since President Xi Jinping began an anti-corruption campaign in 2012, thousands of officials have been arrested and charged.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the U.S. Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, a free and 24/7 service that can provide suicidal persons or those around them with support, information and local resources.

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