The People's Liberation Army saw the start of another reshuffle of top officers before the end of last year, including the appointment of Major-General Wang Xixin, formerly deputy president of National Defence University, as deputy commander of the northeastern Shenyang Military Command.
Wang, 59, was commander of the prestigious 38th Army for more than four years from 2007 before being appointed deputy head of the university in December 2011.
The 38th Army, charged with safeguarding Beijing and based in Baoding , Hebei province, is considered one of best trained and equipped corps in the PLA. It is one of three armies that comprise the Beijing Military Command.
A Beijing-based source familiar with military affairs said Major-General Qin Shengxiang , political commissar of a 38th Army division in the past decade, is tipped to become director of the general office of the decision-making Central Military Commission (CMC), succeeding Lieutenant-General Wang Guanzhong , who was made a deputy chief of general staff a couple of months ago.
Qin, 56, is now organisation department chief of the PLA's General Political Department. On Friday, he was made a deputy director of a committee responsible for the selection of hundreds of PLA deputies to the annual meeting of the National People's Congress in March.
Wang Guanzhong and his predecessor at the CMC general office, Lieutenant General Tan Yuexin , were deputy heads of the same committee.
"While Qin is favourite to take the key post, Major-General Bai Jianjun could be the dark horse to fill the void left by Wang Guanzhong," the source added. Bai is head of the operations department at the PLA's Headquarters of General Staff.
Meanwhile, Major-General Liu Zhigang , commander of the Inner Mongolia military sub-region, is expected to be made deputy commander of the Beijing Military Command, succeeding retiring Lieutenant-General Li Shaojun , Wang Xixin's predecessor as 38th Army commander.