A former personal secretary of retired leader Jiang Zemin has been put in charge of political loyalty in the People's Liberation Army, the Beijing-backed Ta Kung Pao reported yesterday.
Lieutenant General Jia Tingan , Mr Jiang's former principal secretary and one of his closest allies, has been promoted to deputy director of the PLA's General Political Department. The Hong Kong newspaper said the official announcement would be made within days.
General Jia, who now serves as director of the Central Military Commission's general office, was also selected as an alternate member of the Communist Party's Central Committee at the 17th National Congress in October.
The 57-year old Henan native served Mr Jiang long before the former president's rise to power and is widely considered his most loyal follower. General Jia was made a lieutenant general in 2005 despite a lack of military experience. He became head of the military commission's general office in 2003 - a move that tightened Mr Jiang's control on the armed forces. He is also a leader of the military commission's Discipline Inspection Commission.
The General Political Department is one of the four general headquarters of the PLA and is responsible for ideological indoctrination, political loyalty, morale, disciplinary affairs and personnel records. It provides the party structure for the PLA and is a crucial tool for the party to control the military.
The department is now headed by General Li Jinai , widely regarded as close to President Hu Jintao . It remains unclear who will take over from General Jia as the general office director. The position is responsible for the military commission - the supreme command unit of the PLA.