Military Watch: Xi Promotes Five ‘New Guard’ Generals

On Jan. 4, four army generals were promoted to the rank of major general. Three of the generals were cadres who oversaw political work, while the remaining general was a deputy chief of staff.

On Jan. 9, a navy general from Unit 91811 based in Guangdong’s Chaozhou City was elevated to major general.

The backdrop: The flurry of promotions took place alongside a reshuffling of military personnel.

  • Major general Wang Yinfang, the former commander of the 71st Army Group, was promoted to ground forces commander of the Northern Theater Command.
  • Major General Fan Chengcai, the former commander of the 76th Army Corps of the Western Theater Command, was promoted to ground forces commander of the Central Theater Command.
  • Zhou Jianguo, former deputy commander of the 76th Army Group, was promoted to commander of Xinjiang’s Armed Police Corps.
  • Major general Liao Zhengrong, former deputy commander of the Hong Kong Garrison, was promoted to commander of the Macau Garrison.

Our take: In our earlier analysis of why Xi Jinping downsized the Central Military Commission, we wrote that Xi would seek to promote a new guard of generals over the next five years to replace the current crop of senior generals who rose up the ranks during the Jiang Zemin era. Xi needs to groom a new military leadership core to safeguard against a possible coup attempt.