The former chief of staff for the Beijing military command appears set for further promotion after being named the youngest deputy chief of staff of the People's Liberation Army.
Lieutenant General Wang Ning, 57, will succeed General Zhang Qinsheng as one of the army's five deputy chiefs, a Beijing-based source familiar with military affairs said.
Zhang, 65, was named deputy chief of the National People's Congress' financial and economic commission in March after failing to the secure a seat on the decision-making Central Military Commission (CMC).
"Wang was advanced as a deputy chief of general staff earlier this month and Zhang was removed from the post at the same time," the source said.
The promotion suggests that Wang, who is already an alternate member of the Communist Party's Central Committee, has a good shot at making it on the CMC during the next party reshuffle in 2017. That is, if he first gets a chance to command one of the PLA's seven military regions sometime in the next five years.
A native of eastern Shandong province, Wang spent more than two decades in the Nanjing military command, which oversees Anhui , Fujian , Jiangsu , Jiangxi , Shanghai and Zhejiang .
In December 2010, Wang was promoted to chief of staff of the Beijing military region, where he would have worked closely with General Fan Fenghui , then regional commander. Fan, now the PLA's chief of staff, is believed to have played a role in Wang's advancement.
Wang may have also enjoyed some support from the large number of Shandong natives in senior military posts. They include top officers such as General Xu Qiliang , deputy vice-chairman of CMC; General Wei Fenghe , commander of the PLA's Second Artillery Corps; and Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo , another deputy chief of staff .
The void left in Beijing by Wang's departure was expected to be filled by Major General Zhou Xiaozhou , chief of staff in the Chengdu military region, the xilu.com military news website said. Zhou is the son of former Beijing military region commander Lieutenant General Zhou Yibing .
Major General Bai Jianjun , chief of the operations department at the General Staff Headquarters, was tipped to succeed Zhou in Chengdu .