China’s veteran generals fading out in massive PLA reshuffle

Changes to come ahead of 19th National Congress as President Xi Jinping consolidates his power

China’s military is stepping up the pace of a massive reshuffle among its leadership ahead of a Communist Party congress later this year as President Xi Jinping consolidates his power within the armed forces, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Nearly 50 senior officers are due to leave their positions as part of the shake-up, including 18 full-ranking generals, two independent sources told the South China Morning Post.

The coming changes are aimed at promoting a new generation of officers, with veterans giving way to younger talent to take over the leadership, one source said.

Many of the officers due to step down are nearing retirement age ahead of the 19th National Congress due to be held in Beijing this autumn.

The names of the officers likely to step down were also circulated on social media among retired military officials and people with close links to the PLA.

The officers likely to go include General Liu Yazhou, a political commissar of the PLA’s National Defence University who is a prominent author on military matters, plus General Cai Yingting, the president of the army’s Academy of Military Science, according to the sources.

Two protégés of former president Jiang Zemin are also on the list to lose their posts: General Jia Tingan and General Du Jincai, the sources said.

Hong Kong-based military expert Liang Guoliang said the reshuffle was part of Xi’s efforts to downsize the world’s largest armed forces and create a more nimble, professional and efficient fighting force.

“The ongoing military overhaul has scrapped four general headquarters by replacing them with 15 small departments that are directly under the Central Military Commission, indicating the PLA doesn’t need so many high-ranking generals,” Liang said.

Full article: China’s veteran generals fading out in massive PLA reshuffle (South China Morning Post)

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