The aftershocks continue–in the wake of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai’s fall from grace, China has announced the promotion of four military personnel, deliberately passing over friends of Bo and sending a clear message that the government is not pleased with any of them.
“A lineup of most of the new military command on the Defense Ministry website also showed that Gen. Liu Yuan, one of the two generals considered particularly close to the ousted party official Bo Xilai, had been passed over for promotion.
The appointments indicate that agreement has been reached on the composition of the new 12-man Central Military Commission, the body that controls the armed forces. At least seven of its members are expected to retire after the 18th Party Congress, starting Nov. 8.
The Defense Ministry website showed that Gen. Fang Fenghui, previously commander of the Beijing military region, had been appointed the new chief of general staff. The position is responsible for operational command and administration of the People’s Liberation Army. Gen. Fang is considered to be a close ally of Mr. Hu, according to military experts.
The website also showed that Gen. Zhang Youxia, previously commander of the Shenyang military region, had been appointed director of the Armaments Department, which is responsible for development and procurement of new weapons.
Gen. Zhang is considered a ‘princeling’ in China because his father—also an army general—was a senior party figure.
Gen. Zhang is thought to have close ties to Vice President Xi Jinping, who is also a princeling and is expected to take over as party chief next month. Gen. Zhang’s father fought alongside Mr. Xi’s father in the 1940s, according to some military experts.”
The Montreal Gazette had more information on the implications of appointing these new commanders:
“The appointments were long anticipated as part of the transition to incoming party leader Xi Jinping, who, despite taking over the reins, is believed to have relatively little say in the naming of new military leaders. Instead, the selections reflect the choices of Hu, who oversaw the advancement of officers such as Fang during his decade in power.
Hu promoted Fang to full general in 2010, one year after commanding an elaborate and highly prestigious military parade celebrating the 60th anniversary of the communist state.
China’s armed forces have undergone a massive upgrading in weapons and tactics in recent years, spurred by double-digit percentage increases in the defence budget and Beijing’s increasing willingness to assert its maritime territorial claims.”
What does it mean for the Diayou Islands? Is another storm brewing?
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