Hawkish PLA leader Luo Yan out of CPPCC for his outspoken views
Ex-PLA chief's hawkish stance and outgoing personality earned him large online following
Luo Yuan, a hawkish retired People's Liberation Army major general, was not reselected as a member of the top advisory body because of his outgoing personality, sources close to the army said.
"Luo was asked to quit the stage of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) because he was too outspoken," a military source said, adding that the upper-level leadership had selected someone else from the PLA to replace him.
"The new CPPCC delegate replacing Luo is more low-profile but, to be frank, he is not as learned as Luo," the source said.
Luo confirmed that he had failed to be selected after a "process of political negotiation".
"It was because all CPPCC members were selected under political negotiation," Luo said when asked if he had asked to drop out of the CPPCC.
Another source said Luo's age was also a reason.
"There are too many PLA major generals queuing up to seek a seat in the CPPCC before reaching the official retirement age of 60," the source said, adding that Luo was 62.
Luo, the son of Luo Qingchang , an aide to late premier Zhou Enlai from the 1930s to the 1970s, was selected as a CPPCC delegate in 2008.
His hawkish and outspoken personality helped him win public support and fans over the past five years, with his personal microblog attracting nearly 300,000 fans since he opened it on February 10, a week before the names of CPPCC delegates were announced.
Luo has also reopened his sina.com blog, which had earned more than a million clicks after opening in 2008.
He used the platform to deny rumours that he had called on Beijing to bombard Tokyo as tensions escalated following the Japanese government's purchase of three of the disputed Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan, in the East China Sea in September last year.
However, he was one of the 10 PLA generals who had published a joint statement in the Chinese-language version of the Global Times, a hawkish tabloid, that month calling for military preparations in the event of a strike against Japan over the Diaoyu Islands.
His proposal for the establishment of a national coastguard to better protect maritime rights was widely supported by mainland scholars and the public.