Reuters International

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A Chinese general has been arrested in China for violating party discipline, a Hong Kong newspaper cited two unnamed sources as saying, describing him as one of the most senior incumbent military officials to be targeted in Beijing's crackdown on corruption.

Wang Jianping, 62, deputy chief of the joint staff department under the powerful Central Military Commission, was taken into custody in Chengdu in southwestern Sichuan province, the South China Morning Post reported, citing one of the sources.

Wang's wife and secretary were also detained, the newspaper said.

China's Defence Ministry did not immediately reply to a fax seeking comment on the newspaper report.

The precise charges against Wang weren't immediately clear, but "violating party discipline" is a common euphemism in China for corruption.

As head of the 2.3 million-strong armed forces, President Xi Jinping has made his fight against military corruption a top priority, with officers warning that the problem is so pervasive it could undermine China's ability to wage war at a time when Beijing has increasingly projected its influence in the region and surrounding seas.

The People's Liberation Army is already reeling from Xi's anti-corruption campaign, which has seen dozens of officers investigated, including Xu Caihou, a former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Wang is known to have worked closely in the past with Xu and former Chinese domestic security tzar Zhou Yongkang, who was jailed for life in 2015 in one of the country's biggest corruption scandals in decades.

(Reporting by Hong Kong newsroom; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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