Military announces reshuffle

Oct. 26, 2012 at 12:58 AM

BEIJING, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- The People's Liberation Army of China promoted four generals as part of a reshuffle the state media said reflects its modernization drive.

The four generals, Fang Fenghui, Zhang Yang, Zhao Keshi and Zhang Youxia, all of whom had previously held major military commands and described as strategists, would now respectively lead the key PLA departments of general staff, general political, general logistics and general armaments, China Daily reported.

Earlier, Ma Xiaotian, who had been deputy chief of the general staff and credited as being an "incredible pilot," was promoted to commander of the Air Force.

All five are over the age of 60. China Daily also carried their pictures and biographical sketches.

The reshuffle won't change the country's military strategy, retired Gen. Xiong Guangkai, who had been deputy chief of the general staff in the 1990s, told the China Daily.

"Like the country, the PLA is under collective leadership. So unlike some other nations, the PLA's strategy and policies are not going to change with changes in personnel," he said.

Teng Jianqun, research director of China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, was quoted as saying the reshuffle reflected the leadership's emphasis on experience.

In the earlier round of reshuffle, Wang Guanzhong, head of the general office of the Central Military Commission with a doctorate degree, and Qi Jianguo, assistant to the chief of the general staff and a veteran of the border war between China and Vietnam, were promoted to deputy chief of the general staff.

The reshuffle comes ahead of the 18th national congress of the Communist Party of China starting Nov. 8, during which the country will also witness a once-a-decade political leadership change.

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