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The colourful general who set off an unprecedented anti-graft campaign in the military has been sworn in as a vice-chairman of the national legislature’s economic and finance committee.

China Central Television

reported yesterday that Liu Yuan, wearing civilian clothes, went through the formalities with other appointees to the National People’s Congress, which begins its annual session on Friday.

Liu, 64, former political commissar of the People’s Liberation Army’s former general logistics department, played a high-profile role in President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. He is said to be the man behind the downfall of former PLA logistics deputy head Gu Junshan, and former Central Military Commission vice-chairmen Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou.

“It’s not a surprise for Liu to be appointed as a vice-chairman of an NPC committee – it’s common practice for retired senior officials,” a Beijing-based retired senior colonel said. “The NPC is an ideal platform for them to transition to retirement.”

READ MORE: Liu Yuan - a princeling with a humble image

As a key figure in Xi’s corruption crackdown in the army, Liu was once tipped to join the CMC, which Xi chairs, but he suddenly announced his retirement on December 23.

A transcript of Liu’s farewell speech to his logistics department colleagues was posted online by his friend Major General Luo Yuan. In it Liu said he would be the “last political commissar of logistics” and he would “absolutely obey the reforms” Xi had launched within the PLA.

Liu was one year off the PLA’s maximum retirement age of 65. His retirement suggested Xi’s overhaul faced strong resistance in the army, with Liu needing to demonstrate to other senior officials that he was willing to make any personal sacrifice that Xi asked of him. Liu is a “princeling” – the son of Liu Shaoqi, a former president who was purged by Mao Zedong in the 1960s. But unlike other senior military leaders who joined the army as teenagers, Liu signed up relatively late in life – at 41.