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Jiang to Retire as Chairman of the Military Commission

Posted November. 13, 2002 22:34,   


As the 16th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress held a preliminary election for major posts including members of the Central Committee, expectations are high that the party`s Central Military Commission would go through a large-scale overhaul in the near future.

According to sources in China, the 16th CCP Congress confirmed the fourth generation centering on Vice President Hu Jintao would take the helm of the Chinese leadership. Accordingly, members of the Central Military Commission over 70 will inevitably step down. Sources expect more than half of the commission members would be replaced.

Sources also said that President Jiang Zemin had been expected to hold the post of the chairman of the Central Military Commission while stepping down from the general secretary of the Communist Party and the nation`s president. But recently many people projected that he would even turn the post to Hu and retire.

Sources said that the reform in the Central Military Commission would be carried out in accordance with four principles as Jiang articulated in his report at the 16th Congress.

The four principles include military modernization, nurturing strategic military force, navy and air force, injecting young blood to the Chinese leadership and

The Central Military Commission have eleven members with four of them including Jiang, Hu, Zhang Wannian and Chi Haotian as executives.

Other commission members are Fu Quanyou, Yu Yongbo, Wang Ke, Wang Ruilin, Cao Gangchuan, Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou.

Among them seven members aged 70 and older from the third generation are to be replaced as they have been ruled out in the list candidate members.

If they retire on the occasion of the 16th CCP Congress, the Central Military Commission is expected to recruit high-ranking military officials to replace the outgoing third generation.

Cao Gangchuan, Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou have been primary candidates for new Defense Minister. Cao, deputy chief-of-staff of China`s People`s Liberation Army (PLA) is the front-runner among them, but the only weakness is that he has never worked as a commanding officer at the military headquarters.

Guo, executive deputy chief of the General Staff of the PLA and Xu, a member of the Central Military Commission and deputy director of the General Political Department of the PLA are expected to lead the General Staff and the General Political Department of the PLA respectively if they failed to become Defense Minister.

Meanwhile, a PLA-owned magazine has repeatedly emphasized the Communist Party`s authority to command the military rather than using the well-known catch phrase, `Rally behind the Communist Party centered around Jiang`, which appears a strong indication of Jiang`s stepdown.