Xi Jinping picks new general to head PLA command overseeing India-China border

Chinese President Xi Jinping has promoted Wang Haijiang, a top PLA officer in-charge of the Xinjiang region, as a general and head of China’s crucial Western Theatre Command (WTC)
A file photo of China’s President Xi Jinping. As the chairperson of the Chinese Central Military Commission (CMC), he promoted five PLA officers to the rank of general at a function in Beijing (AP)
A file photo of China’s President Xi Jinping. As the chairperson of the Chinese Central Military Commission (CMC), he promoted five PLA officers to the rank of general at a function in Beijing (AP)
Updated on Sep 08, 2021 02:00 AM IST
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By Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing

Chinese President Xi Jinping has promoted Wang Haijiang, a senior People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officer in-charge of the Xinjiang military region, as a general and head of the crucial Western Theatre Command (WTC), which oversees the disputed India-China border.

Xi Jinping, who is also the chairperson of the Central Military Commission (CMC), promoted five officers to the rank of general at a function in Beijing.

“Xi Jinping, chairman of the CMC, on Monday presented five military officers of the Chinese PLA with certificates of order promoting them to the military rank of general, the highest rank for officers in active service in China,” the military said in a statement.

“The promoted officers are Commander of the PLA WTC Wang Haijiang, Commander of the PLA Central Theatre Command Lin Xiangyang, Commander of the PLA Navy Dong Jun and Commander of the PLA Air Force Chang Dingqiu and President of PLA National Defence University Xu Xueqiang,” the statement said.

General Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of the CMC, announced the orders of promotion signed by Xi, and General Zhang Youxia, also CMC vice chairman, presided over the ceremony.

General Wei Fenghe, General Li Zuocheng, Admiral Miao Hua, and General Zhang Shengmin, who are members of the CMC, also attended the ceremony in the capital city of China, the statement said.

The status of General Xu Qiling, who was promoted as WTC chief in July, wasn’t immediately clear.

For newly promoted general Wang Haijiang, the rise through the ranks in China’s military has been rapid.

In August, he was appointed as military commander to oversee the troubled Xinjiang region, which is also under heightened security amid a crackdown that Beijing says is needed to prevent terrorism.

General Wang of China visited India in 2016, heading a PLA contingent for a hand-in-hand anti-terrorism exercise.

From all accounts in Chinese official media, he is now likely the fourth head of the vital WTC since last year when the India-China border tensions in eastern Ladakh began.

Wang has also served as the head of China’s Tibet military region, which is part of the WTC.

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Thursday, October 21, 2021