Changes a sign military ideology is being strengthened President Hu Jintao promoted 10 senior officers to the rank of full general yesterday in a move to strengthen his grip on the People's Liberation Army. It was the first mass promotion by Mr Hu since he was officially elected chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) in March last year. With seven of the 10 generals from political departments that oversee party work, ideology, discipline, culture and propaganda, the promotions could reflect the leaders' emphasis on beefing up ideological cohesion in the military. The PLA is directly controlled by the Communist Party and, in an increasingly free-market environment, leaders have been keen to revise communist ideology across society. A Marxism theory research and construction project was launched last year. Antony Wong, president of the International Military Association in Macau, said it was odd for the military commission chairman to promote so many political chiefs from military political departments. 'I think his promotions have both political and military aims,' he said. 'First, he wants to further strengthen his hold on the military because he has to expand his political influence before the political reshuffle ahead of the 17th party congress next year.' Two of the seven political chiefs are deputy directors in the General Political Department: Liu Yongchi and Sun Zhongtong , also party head of the CMC Discipline and Inspection Commission. The other five are the political commissar of the General Armament Department, Chi Wanchun ; the political commissar of the Air Force, Deng Changyou ; the political commissar of the Secondary Artillery Army, Peng Xiaofeng ; the political commissar of the Beijing Military Area Command, Fu Tinggui ; and the political commissar of the Lanzhou Military Area Command, Yu Linxiang . The last three are the principal of the University of National Defence, Pei Huailiang ; the commander of the Nanjing Military Area Command, Zhu Wenquan ; and the commander of Chengdu Military Area Command, Wang Jianmin . Mr Hu's predecessor Jiang Zemin appointed 79 full generals during his 15-year term. Yesterday's ceremony in Beijing will also serve as encouragement to the military after 40 military personnel and crew members died when a reconnaissance plane crashed in Anhui on June 3. Mr Wong said more than 20 senior military researchers died in the crash, damaging the PLA's fighting power. 'Normally only two working teams are permitted to board, but actually five teams got on that plane.' He predicted that more senior military officials would be punished for the wrongdoing. 'However, before the coming rainstorm, the PLA needs more positive messages to invigorate the soldiers' morale.' Meanwhile, a CCTV report on a recent military exercise in the East Sea was presented with a pragmatically worded voiceover rather than the usual uncritical praise. Milton Liao Wen-chung, a Taiwanese PLA specialist, said: 'I think the programme is aimed at sending a message to other military troops to be practical and efficient.'