China dismissed top ranking army Generals from their positions

Nine generals of the People’s Liberation Army, including a number of senior members of the PLA Rocket Force, have been dismissed from China’s top legislature.

Besides losing their qualification as national representatives, those holding seats in relevant legislative committees had also been removed from their positions, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) announced on Friday. It gave no reason for the disqualifications.

Those dismissed include five past or serving top commanders of the PLA Rocket Force, a key component of the country’s nuclear arsenal, and a former air force commander. Two of the others served in the Central Military Commission (CMC), while one is a naval commander.

The CMC is the top military command body in China’s political hierarchy, and is chaired by President Xi Jinping. The ousted military men include Li Yuchao, commander of the rocket force from January last year before being replaced in July, and his former deputy, Zhang Zhenzhong. Zhang was the force’s deputy commander from 2016 to 2022 and then deputy chief of staff of the CMC Joint Staff Department.

Both were reportedly placed under anti-corruption investigation earlier this year, along with another former deputy of Li’s.

Li was replaced by Wang Houbin, the navy’s former deputy commander, in July. Despite the surprise shake-up, Beijing has not published any official statements about the reason for the dismissals or the investigation.

Also stripped of their NPC roles on Friday were Li Chuanguang, deputy commander of the rocket force since 2016, and Zhou Yaning, Li Yuchao’s predecessor as commander from 2017 to 2022, as well as the force’s current head of equipment development, Lu Hong. They represented most of the top leadership of the rocket force since its establishment in 2015 in a major overhaul of the PLA.

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