New commissars fill Beijing, Jinan posts
WILLY WO-LAP LAM
New political commissars have been appointed for the strategic Beijing and Jinan military regions.
Lieutenant-General Du Tiehuan has been named commissar of the Beijing Military Region, which is responsible for guarding the capital.
He has replaced General Gu Shanqing , who is stepping down at the mandatory retirement age of 65.
General Du's old job, commissar of the Jinan region, has gone to Lieutenant-General Xu Caihou , a vice-director of the General Political Department.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the position left vacant following the retirement of the Jinan region's commander, General Zhang Taiheng , has been filled by rising star Major-General Qian Guoliang .
General Qian, a chief of staff in the region and a highly regarded professional commander, has gone up the hierarchy by two rungs.
Military analysts said the recent spate of promotions satisfied President Jiang Zemin's dictum about advancing professionally accomplished People's Liberation Army (PLA) officers.
'Jiang has indicated only officers who are likely to win the next round of 'hi-tech, localised warfares' should be elevated,' said an army source.
'Several relatively young officers have taken the proverbial helicopter ride to the top.' Xinhua (the New China News Agency) said last night the structure of the officer corps had undergone a 'historic change'.
The agency quoted military sources as saying half of all PLA officers were now 'professional technological cadres'.
At the same time, the number of traditional commanders, commissars and logistics officers had decreased.
Moreover, Xinhua said, more 'professional technological cadres' had been given jobs previously filled by commanders.
The PLA has also made efforts to meet Mr Jiang's instructions about the maintenance of ideological standards among officers.
The Liberation Army Daily pointed out yesterday the 'ideological and political construction in the entire Army has reaped a bumper harvest', effecting the policy of bringing officers into unison with the party leadership.
The newspaper disclosed that more than 80 per cent of officers who held the rank of head of regiment or above had undergone special ideological training.