Younger officials occupy top PLA posts

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, January 25, 2011
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The People's Liberation Army recently announced the latest round of high-level appointments and some of the key posts went to younger and more professionally trained officials.

The Ministry of National Defense confirmed on its website Sunday that the army's four headquarters will have new faces in top positions.

Liu Guozhi, 50, is the new deputy director of the PLA's General Armament Department. Liu is considered a "rare young leader at a major military command region level," Chongqing Evening News reported Monday.

The Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po newspaper referred to Liu as a leading expert in nuclear technologies who served as an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2009. Liu re-placed Han Yanlin, 62, a lieutenant general, the Guangdong-based Southern Metropolis Daily reported Sunday.

Wei Fenghe, 56, a lieutenant general and former Chief of Staff at the PLA's Second Artillery Force, is now the youngest deputy chief of the PLA's General Staff Department.

Liu Yuan, 60, son of former Chinese leader Liu Shaoqi, became political commissar of the PLA's General Logistics Department last week. Liu worked as a village-level official in the 1980s and served in the Armed Police Force Headquarters and PLA Academy of Military Sciences before his recent promotion.

According to the Law on Officers in Active Service, deputy directors at major military command regions level should not be over 63. The new appointments show that China's important military officials are becoming younger, more professional and have wider field experience, observers said.

Wen Wei Po said the new leaders have experience in the basic forces, and strong backgrounds in scientific and academic research.

Li Daguang, a military expert at the PLA National Defense University, told the Global Times Monday that current high-ranking military officials are much younger than some who served in the 1980s, but the PLA still needs to attract younger and better-educated officials to keep the country's modernization plans.

"The average age of military officials is higher than local officials, which means there is still a long way to go for the army to have younger and more experienced leadership," Li said.

"A modern army needs more highly educated officials, whose knowledge structure matches the development of an advanced national defense", Li added.

At the end of 2010, China had more than 100 provincial-level government officials who were born after the 1960s and who serve as the backbone of local governments, according to Shandong-based Qilu Evening News.

Most of these officials got their working experience in Party organizations, the Communist Youth League, State-owned enterprises, universities and research institutions, China News Service (CNS) reported earlier.

Liu Junsheng, of the China University of Political Science and Law, told CNS that these officials were less than 43 years old, on average, when they were first elected as provincial-level officials.

It is routine to rearrange military leaders of important positions before every National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to strengthen the Party's control in the army, Hong Kong-based Sing Tao Daily reported.

The principle was ensured by the Regulations on the Political Work of the PLA, which said the CPC has absolute leadership over the PLA, whose highest leadership and command authority belongs to CPC's Central Committee and Central Military Commission.

However, Li, the military expert, called the new appointments a "normal work arrangement."

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