The recent promotion of 'Young Turks' within the PLA indicates the military is preparing for a transition of power at the 16th Communist Party Congress in the autumn, analysts say. Major-General Liu Yazhou, a son-in-law of late president Li Xiannian, has become the political commissar of the air force in Chengdu Military Region, the Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po reported yesterday. General Liu, 49, is envisaged as a prominent Young-Turk figure within the PLA, the paper said. A former director of the political department under the Beijing Military Region before his reported promotion, General Liu is a fluent English speaker and was previously a visiting scholar at Stanford University. His wife, Li Xiaolin, is also a US expert. The newspaper said General Liu had visited the US and Europe. It even claimed he had toured Taiwan, but not in his official capacity as a PLA general. Reports from Taiwan quoting intelligence sources said General Liu paid a key role in facilitating South Korea's switch of diplomatic ties from Taipei to Beijing in 1992, but his visit to the island could not be independently confirmed. He was also described as a prolific writer and has reportedly published about a dozen books on military life. His apparent promotion follows reports of other major personnel changes within the military. Former PLA Hong Kong garrison commander Major-General Liu Zhenwu appeared in public last month as Commander of Guangzhou Military Region, according to a Xinhua report, replacing General Tao Bojun. Beijing Military Region Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Zhu Qi earlier this month represented the region at a Lunar New Year celebration, raising speculation that he had replaced General Li Xinliang to become the new Commander of Beijing Military Region. General Zhu, 59, was chief of staff at Chengdu Military Region before reportedly being promoted to the Beijing post. Analysts said the spate of promotions indicated the military was rejuvenating its top brass ahead of a leadership change.