President Jiang Zemin has consolidated control over the PLA through means including limiting the number of full generals to be appointed each year. Mr Jiang, civilian head of the Central Military Commission, has also started an ideological campaign in the army to promote loyalty to Vice-President Hu Jintao, who was made a commission vice-chairman last month. A military source said yesterday Mr Jiang had aroused controversy among the top brass by appointing only two senior officers as full generals this year - Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou. The two, together with Mr Hu, were inducted into the commission at a plenary session of the party Central Committee. 'Jiang has, in the past, sometimes promoted seven or eight officers full generals in a year,' the source said. 'Given the fact that not even the heads of the air force and navy are full generals, his favouring Guo and Xu has been criticised by many officers.' However, the source said Mr Jiang wanted to underscore the principle of the party's 'absolute leadership' over the army, as well as his authority as the core of the third-generation leadership. A Western diplomat said with the help of the party's head of organisation, Zeng Qinghong, Mr Jiang was planning a thorough reshuffle of the military and civilian leadership at central and local levels. 'Emphasis is being put on elevating trustworthy cadres in their 40s and early 50s who have advanced degrees or professional qualifications,' the diplomat said. 'For the first time, the PLA is giving bigger salary raises to officers with higher academic and professional credentials.' At the suggestion of Mr Jiang, the PLA's General Political Department launched a campaign across the mainland urging officers of all levels and regions to support the party leadership's appointment of Mr Hu, and generals Guo and Xu. National newspapers yesterday quoted officers from all major PLA departments as expressing 'full confidence' in the newly constituted military commission. Xinhua quoted the officers as saying they would 'resolutely and unshakeably' uphold the authority of Mr Jiang, the core of the party leadership. Analysts said it was unusual for an ideological campaign to be launched to generate support for individual appointments for the military commission.