Xi Replaces 7th Central Military Commission Department Head

Lt. General Li Shangfu will replace General Zhang Youxia as director of the Equipment Development Department in the Central Military Commission (CMC), according to a Sept. 18 announcement in the Communist Party’s official military newspaper.

Li, 59, has a background in developing advanced military and space technology. In February 2016, he was appointed deputy commander of the People’s Liberation Army Strategic Support Force. Li was also formerly a deputy director of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program and the Chinese Manned Space Program.

Li’s father, Li Shaozhu, was a revolutionary general and former deputy commander of the Party’s Southwest Command, making the younger Li a Party “princeling.”  

Why it matters: Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been appointing new generals to top military offices at a steady clip since August, consolidating his control over the military come the 19th Party Congress on Oct. 18. Although Xi appeared to have brought the military under his sway at a grand parade in 2015, he still faces resistance and sabotage from many Jiang faction loyalists in the military.

Who’s now in the CMC?:

Chairman: Xi Jinping

Vice chairman: General Fan Changlong

Vice chairman: Air Force General Xu Qiliang


General Chang Wanquan, Minister of National Defense

General Zhao Keshi*

General Zhang Youxia*

Admiral Wu Shengli*

Air Force General Ma Xiaotian*

General Wei Fenghe*

Incoming CMC members:

General Li Zuocheng, Chief of the Joint Staff

Admiral Miao Hua, Director of the Political Work Department

General Song Puxuan, Director of the Logistics Support Department

Lt. General Li Shangfu, Director of the Equipment Development Department

Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong, Commander of the PLA Navy

Air Force Lt. General Ding Laihang, Commander of the PLA Air Force

Lt. General Zhou Yaning, Commander of the PLA Rocket Force

Under investigation:

General Fang Fenghui

General Zhang Yang