Xi Jinping 习近平
The news helmsman Xi Jinpingvia Wikipedia

China’s top leaders are preparing for a change in its political leaders early 2012, and the military are no exception. Military expert Wendell Minnick looks at the upcoming changes in China’s top brass in Defense News.

Wendell Minnick:

Vice President Xi Jinping is expected to replace Hu Jintao as the CCP secretary general and chairman of the all-powerful Central Military Commission (CMC).

“This transition period will also be highlighted by a significant turnover in the composition of the CMC leadership with the majority of the 10-member panel to retire,” said Zhang Xiao-ming, a China specialist at the U.S. Air War College.

Xi, who is also the vice chairman of the CMC, is seen as a pragmatist who will “accelerate the cultivation of elite personnel, emphasize basic military training, put forth new direction of cadre’s ethics construction, and advance military transformation based on science and technology development,” said Fu Li-Wen, a researcher at the ICCS.

Xi is known for his hardline and outspoken style, Fu said. Xi once told an expatriate group of Chinese “compatriots” in Mexico “there are a few foreigners, with full bellies, who have nothing better to do than try to point fingers at our country.”

The CMC reshuffle will also mean a turnover of the directorship of the four general departments: General Staff, General Political, General Logistic and General Armament. This will include changes in the deputy directors and other subordinate leaders, Zhang said. The new crop of leaders will also be more tech-savvy with more hands-on experience in the military modernization process, he said.

The next leaders of the CMC will be “younger, better educated and mission capable,” said Ji You, a specialist on the Chinese military at the University of New South Wales.

“The overwhelming majority of them have served in combat units and climbed through ‘steps,'” he said.

This is also a leadership that rode the wave of a fivefold increase in the defense budget over the past 15 years.

Wendell Minnick via Flickr

More in Defense News.

Wendell Minnick is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

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