Hong Kong Garrison Commander’s Term Cut Short

Move seen to be part of effort to eliminate Jiang Zemin's influence in China's military
By Lin Yi
Lin Yi
Lin Yi
July 23, 2014 Updated: July 23, 2014

HONG KONG—The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Garrison in Hong Kong suddenly announced on July 14 that Commander-Lieutenant General Wang Xiaojun will be transferred, and Major General Tan Benhong will replace him.

Many regard this as part of CCP leader Xi Jinping’s attempt to purge the Party of military forces that support Xi’s rival, former CCP leader Jiang Zemin.

Wang became the Hong Kong Garrison Commander in December 2012, less than two years ago. Besides General Liu Zhenwu, who also lasted two years, all other commanders’ terms have lasted approximately four years.

The new commander, Tan, is a native of China’s Hunan Province and was Hong Kong Garrison Chief of Staff in 2007.

This replacement follows the purge and arrest of former vice chair of the Central Military Commission, Xu Caihou, which was announced on June 30. Xu had been appointed to the Central Military Commission, the body in charge of China’s military, by Jiang Zemin, and then was elevated by Jiang to the number two position in the Commission.

Xu was formerly the Political Department Director and Political Commissar of the Shenyang Military Area Command Group. After he was sacked, the CCP mouthpiece People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily reported that the CCP Joint Logistics Department of the Shenyang Military Area Command has transferred 170 individuals holding “sensitive positions.”

Shi Cangshan, an independent analyst of Party affairs based in Washington, D.C., said, “The internal objective of the CCP Garrison in Hong Kong is to have a precaution in place, so when there is warlordism in China, there won’t be mainland soldiers occupying Hong Kong.”

“Every time there is instability in the CCP regime, the Hong Kong PLA Garrison’s alert level will be strengthened,” Shi said.

Shi added that Xi Jinping authorities may be trying to stabilize the army to prevent Hong Kong soldiers from becoming out of control if there is instability in the CCP.

Translated by Terence Li. Written in English by Sally Appert.

Lin Yi