In the 20th rubber-stamp legislature to be held in China on Oct. 16, the regime will recompose its military leadership to focus on regional military coercion in the Taiwan Strait and loyalty said China experts.
Xi Jinping, the head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), increased his control over the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) through military reform and using anti-corruption campaigns to imprison and execute those who support an opposing political faction. The PLA is the military of the CCP and not the Chinese military.
Over the years, Xi personally directed the appointments of members of the Central Military Commission (CMC), the command authority of the armed forces.
In the upcoming national meeting, Xi is expected to continue a third five-year term as the leader of both the Party and the CMC.
Aging Military CommandersFour of the six executive members of the CMC have reached the retirement age of 68.
Both Vice Chairmen Xu Qiliang and Zhang Youxia are aged 72; Wei Fenghe the PLA Rocket Force commander is 68; and Li Zuocheng the Joint Staff Department chief is 69.
That leaves only two members likely to remain: Political Work Department Director Miao Hua aged 66; and Discipline Inspection Commission Director Zhang Shengmin aged 64.
Xi the chairman of the CMC is 69 years old.
In 2014, Xi promoted Miao to political commissar of the PLA Navy and subsequently appointed him the director of the Political Work Department in 2017.
Miao spent 36 years in the 31st Army stationed in Fujian Province where Xi had a political career for 17 years.
Commanders From FujianAn overseas Chinese media controlled by the CCP called Sing Tao Daily said in September that Miao and General He Weidong are likely to become the new vice chairs of CMC.
The 65-year-old He was the commander of the Eastern Theater Command from 2019 to 2022. According to Sing Tao’s report, He grew up in Fujian and used to serve as the chief of staff and deputy commander of the 31st Army in Fujian.
In an effort to break through the first island chain, promotion of commanders from Fujian and the southeast coastal region would be expected, said Lu.
Li Cheng-Hsiu, a military expert and associate researcher at the National Policy Foundation of the Republic of China (Taiwan), agreed.
'Loyalty to Xi and His Agenda'Chi Le-yi, a senior military analyst in Taiwan, does not believe Xi would have a geographical preference.
“For example, Lin Xiangyang, the incumbent commander of the Eastern Theater Command, used to be the commander of the Northern Theater Command,” said Chi.
He does not believe Xi would prefer any disproportionate geographic arrangement in the CMC. He said, “It’s a taboo for Xi. It took him a great effort to eliminate the powerful Guo Boxiong and his influence in the northwest.”
He said, all PLA officers “must have enough political acumen to demonstrate loyalty to Xi and his agenda.”