The People's Liberation Army and its affiliated People's Armed Police yesterday released a list of its 300 delegates for the upcoming 18th national party congress.
The announcement indicates that preparation for the congress has entered its final stage. The army was the last constituency to decide on its delegates.
A list of the delegates' names was published by the PLA Daily and the People's Daily. Several generals with 'princeling' backgrounds and a PLA soldier who won Olympic gold in swimming at the London Games are among the selected delegates.
The People's Armed Police will send 49 delegates while the PLA will send the rest.
Military observers say they are pleased to see open-minded generals on the list.
They include General Liu Yuan , political commissar of the General Logistics Department, who heads an anti-corruption campaign within the army; General Liu Yazhou , political commissar for the National Defence University, who once warned his hawkish military colleagues that China must embrace American-style democracy or accept a Soviet-style collapse; and General Zhang Qinsheng , 64, a deputy director of the General Staff.
Several years ago, Zhang, who was once a front runner to succeed Liang Guanglie as defence minister, was reportedly under investigation for supporting 'army nationalisation'.
The New York Times on Wednesday cited four Beijing insiders as saying that early this year, a drunken Zhang vented his anger in front of President Hu Jintao , who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission, over what he believed was a backhanded move to keep him from promotion to the army's top ruling body.
'It is a good sign that so many liberal-minded top generals have been allowed to take part in the upcoming 18th party congress,' said Antony Wong Dong of the Macau-based International Military Association. 'But it might merely be an attempt by Hu to try to build a liberal image for the PLA.'
The list showed that the grandsons of revolutionaries Mao Zedong and Zhu De , Major General Mao Xinyu and Major General Zhu Heping were chosen.
Twenty-eight generals from the PLA's four main departments were also on the list.
However, Lieutenant General Ding Jiye , 63, a deputy director of the General Logistics Department, and General Tong Shiping , 65, a deputy director of the General Political Department, were not selected. The reason for the two generals' exclusion was unclear.
Jiao Liuyang, a PLA officer who won gold in the women's 200-metres butterfly at the London Olympics, is among the delegates.
Xu Guangyu, a senior researcher at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association in Beijing, said the delegates were chosen to represent the various PLA departments, including those that oversee politics, medicine, sports, culture and other sectors.
'All the delegates were elected from different military departments under negotiations and voting in their own party congresses early this year,' Xu said.
'They will speak for their own department in the upcoming party congress as the army has actually become a diversified fighting force.'
Xinhua said the list included all the generals from the PLA's top brass - the Central Military Commission - and several outstanding soldiers and military officers.Topics: Politics Central Military Commission General Political Department Zhang Yang Zhang Qinsheng 18th Party Congress