Well-connected trio promoted to generals

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 July, 2009, 12:00am

President Hu Jintao yesterday promoted three officers to the rank of general, including the son of ousted former president Liu Shaoqi, state media reported.

Another is the son of general Zhang Zhen, now retired but who served between 1992 and 1997 as the vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, China's supreme command, under then president Jiang Zemin. The third is the son of a deputy chief of the General Staff headquarters.

All three were promoted to full general from the rank of lieutenant general. The promotions for Ma Xiaotian, 60, Liu Yuan, 59, and Zhang Haiyang, 60, were conferred by Mr Hu during a ceremony in Beijing, CCTV reported.

General Liu is the son of Liu Shaoqi, who was ousted as president during the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution and disappeared from public life in 1968. He died in prison a year later.

The elder Liu was once a comrade in arms of Mao Zedong , but a power struggle between them led to his downfall. Authorities overturned the verdict on him after Mao died in 1976. Liu was given a formal state funeral in 1980.

General Zhang is the third son of retired general Zhang Zhen. His two elder brothers are both PLA senior officers, holding the rank of major general.