New Military Vice Chairs May be Added at the 7th Plenum

The Chinese Communist Party’s 18th Central Committee convened its seventh plenum in Beijing on Oct. 11. Going by precedent, there is a good possibility that new vice chairmen will be appointed to the Central Military Commission (CMC).

Our take: SinoInsider believes that Xi Jinping is looking to vest more power in his position as CMC chairman and dilute the authority of the vice chairs. This can be done by adding more vice chairs to prevent the concentration of power in only two top generals as in the current set up. Xi may make the CMC vice chairmen appointments during the seventh plenum and finalize the CMC leadership reshuffle ahead of the 19th Party Congress.

Of the two incumbent CMC vice chairs, General Fan Changlong is due to retire while General Xu Qiliang should get another five-year term. Popular candidates for the vice chair slots include former CMC Equipment Development Department director Zhang Youxia, former People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force commander Wei Fenghe, and Chief of Joint Staff Li Zuocheng.

Here are two potential CMC vice chairmen lineups:

Two vice chairs (40% probability): Xu Qiliang, Zhang Youxia

Four vice chairs (60% probability): Xu Qiliang, Zhang Youxia, Wei Fenghe, Li Zuocheng

Contact us for more on Xi Jinping’s military reforms.