COMMUNIST Party boss Jiang Zemin has scored a resounding victory in strengthening control over the 3.2 million-strong People's Liberation Army (PLA) as the top brass pledged their allegiance to the anointed successor of patriarch Deng Xiaoping. Central Military Commission (CMC) vice-chairman General Zhang Zhen was reported yesterday to have written an article for the Communist Party's mouthpiece, Seeking Truth, that the most important task facing the Chinese army now was to rally behind the ''command of the party's central and CMC with Jiang Zemin as its core''. ''The PLA will go anywhere to battle under the order of the Central of Chinese Communist Party,'' General Zhang pledged in the article, reported by Xinhua (the New China News Agency) yesterday. More significantly, the general hinted the leadership would not tolerate any challenge to Mr Jiang's authority, although the party boss basically had no military experience at all. General Zhang wrote it was important for the Red Army to carry on the fine traditions started by veterans such as the late Chairman Mao Zedong. The article hailed Mr Jiang is a legitimate successor to his mentor Deng Xiaoping and to Mao. ''Jiang Zemin as the core of our third generation of collective leadership has paid a great deal of attention to the inheritance and glorification of the fine tradition of the army,'' General Zhang wrote. ''Now, as more and more middle-aged and young officers have been assigned to leading positions of the army, it has become an increasing pressing issue of historic importance to perpetuate the fine tradition of the Chinese army generation after generation.'' General Zhang's article also elevated the military teachings of Mr Jiang to the same level as those of Mr Deng and Mao and said the army must base its modernisation plan on ''Chairman Jiang's instruction''. The article, written as a celebration of the 67th anniversary of the founding of the PLA, coincided with another report that General Gu Shanqing, Political Commissar of the Beijing Military Region, left Beijing yesterday on an official visit to Russia and Poland. General Gu is the second senior military officer to visit Russia in the past month. Last month, Defence Minister General Chi Haotian led another high-level delegation to Russia and Pakistan for ''military exchanges''.