Beijing yesterday announced the promotion of Xi Jinping as party chief of the booming eastern province of Zhejiang, along with several top-level military appointments. Mr Xi, Zhejiang's former acting governor, replaces Zhang Dejiang, 56, who was promoted to the 24-member Politburo at the Communist Party's 16th congress last week, according to the China News Service. The report did not specify Mr Zhang's new title, but he is widely expected to replace Li Changchun as party secretary of Guangdong province. Mr Li, 58, was promoted last week to the nine-member Standing Committee of the Politburo - the party's highest decision-making body. Mr Xi, 49, is seen as one of the so-called princelings - children of top government officials who are being groomed for future leadership. He is a chemical engineer by training. His father is the late party elder Xi Zhongxun, a veteran revolutionary soldier and close associate of the late paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping. Meanwhile, the People's Liberation Army has announced the appointment of an 'information warfare expert' to a key post in charge of frontline operations should military conflict erupt across the Taiwan Strait. Zhu Wenquan has been named commander of the Nanjing Military Region, replacing Liang Guanglie, who has been promoted to Chief of General Staff, according to the official PLA newspaper. The Nanjing Military Region covers forces on the eastern coast, directly facing Taiwan. Analysts said General Zhu's cross-strait expertise, especially in information warfare, was the main reason behind his promotion. However, General Zhu was only appointed as an alternate member of the 198-member Central Committee - the only military region commander excluded from the party's elite committee. In another military appointment, Wang Jianmin, former deputy commander of the Shenyang Military Region, was named commander of the Chengdu Military Region. General Wang, 60, succeeds Liao Xilong, who was named Director of the General Armament Department and a member of the powerful Central Military Commission. Ng Ka-po, associate professor at the Aichi Bunkyo University in Japan, attributed General Liao's promotion to his experience in fighting separatists in the mountainous Tibetan region. Professor Ng expects General Liao to contribute significantly to the mainland's counter-terrorist efforts.