Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Why This and Why Now?

China is purging its senior leaders of the PLA:

China has replaced the head of its air force and other top military chiefs ahead of a major Communist Party congress next month at which President Hu Jintao is expected to fill several top posts with younger leaders loyal to his rule.

Lt. Gen. Xu Qiliang, a former deputy chief of the People's Liberation Army's general staff, has taken over from Gen. Qiao Qingchen as head of the PLA Air Force, the official China Daily newspaper said Wednesday.

Other recent appointments include the heads of five of seven main military regions, among them the one surrounding Beijing and the Nanjing Military District tasked with making war preparations against Taiwan, according to the Web site of the official Xinhua News Agency.

Wednesday's report comes just days after China publicized the appointment of a new chief of general staff in charge of day-to-day operations for its 2.3 million-member armed forces, the world's largest standing military.

Is this about loyalty in case of domestic unrest or effectiveness in case of war over Taiwan?

I'll certainly be looking for more information on this change.