China’s military pledged loyalty to the ruling Communist Party and vowed to continue the anti-corruption campaign to show support before the party’s national congress this year, state media reported. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) should further consolidate loyalty to the party and try to come up with innovative measures to eliminate corruption problems, General Zhang Youxia, one of the Central Military Commission’s (CMC’s) two vice-chairmen, told a meeting on the military’s anti-graft efforts in Beijing on Saturday, state news agency Xinhua reported. During the twice-a-decade congress, set to take place this autumn, it is expected that President Xi Jinping will embark on his third five-year term as the party’s leader and there will be a reshuffle of its ruling elite. Zhang’s remark came the day after Xi, who chairs the CMC, promoted seven generals. A new commander and political commissar were appointed in the Central Theatre Command, along with a commander of the rocket force and four political commissars in charge of military ideology and conduct, with the Northern Theatre Command, the ground force, the navy and the armed police force. A military observer said the promotions were part of Xi’s efforts to cement his political support in the military. “Xi needs to place his own men in all important posts as part of preparation for the 20th party congress, which is likely to take place in late October,” a source close to the PLA said. “Many cadres, especially senior officials whose interests were affected by the anti-graft campaign, have grumbled, asking why the fight should be kept going as regular work.” Zhang, who is known to be personally close to Xi, told the Saturday meeting of the CMC’s disciplinary committee that all cadres should “deeply understand the spirit of President Xi’s important instructions to make the fight against corruption a non-stop battle”, Xinhua reported. Xi introduced the sweeping campaign when he took the CMC’s helm in late 2012. It brought down two of the commission’s former vice-chairmen, Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, and many other senior commanders. Military mouthpiece PLA Daily has said previously that the crackdown netted at least 13,000 senior officers. Military commentator Liang Guoliang said it had provided promotion opportunities for young generals without strong political backgrounds to step into top military leadership roles. The new commander of the Beijing-based Central Theatre Command – which oversees security of the capital and supports the other four theatre commands – is General Wu Yanan, whose predecessor Lin Xiangyang had been in the role only since August. “It’s interesting that there was no announcement of a new position for Lin,” Liang said. More generals fell to Xi’s corruption drive than died in battle “Normally, new appointments of senior commanders would be disclosed soon after the announcement of their successors,” he said, adding that Lin might be promoted before the party congress. Two of the seven full generals had been promoted to lieutenant general less than two years earlier, in April 2020, including Wu and Li Yuchao, new commander of the rocket force, according to Xinhua.