China promotes PLA's anti-graft chief to rank of general

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - China's top military body has promoted Zhang Shengmin, secretary of its discipline inspection commission, to the rank of general.

President Xi Jinping, chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), presented a promotion certificate to Zhang, 59, at the CMC headquarters in Beijing on Thursday.

Zhang is also a member of the CMC, which oversees the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

The promotion made Zhang the last uniformed member in the CMC, China's highest military authority, to become a general, which together with the rank of admiral is the most senior rank for an officer on active service in the PLA.

Apart from Zhang, the CMC has five other uniformed members - Xu Qiliang, Zhang Youxia, Wei Fenghe, Li Zuocheng and Miao Hua.

Zhang Shengmin's early career in the PLA remains undisclosed.

Chinese media reports say that he spent more than 10 years in the PLA Rocket Force, formerly called the PLA Second Artillery Corps, in posts ranging from political commissar of a missile base and a command college to head of the political wing at the force's headquarters in Beijing.

Around the end of last year, Zhang was named political commissar of the CMC Logistic Support Department. He was named head of the CMC Discipline Inspection Commission around February this year.

Zhang was recently named chief of the CMC Discipline Inspection Commission and deputy chief of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the party's top anti-graft watchdog, following the closing of the 19th Party Congress.

The CCP's 19th Central Committee held its First Plenary Session a day after the five-yearly congress ended on Oct 24.

Since Xi became the party's General Secretary in late 2012, he has launched a sweeping anti-corruption campaign within the armed forces.

So far, at least 100 senior officers at the rank of major-general or higher - including Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong- have been convicted or punished for corruption or other misconduct, according to PLA Daily. Both formerly held positions of vice- chairmen at the CMC.

At a top-level military meeting on Oct 26, one day after Xi was re-elected the Communist party's General Secretary and the CMC chairman, he told officers that they must work hard to enforce discipline in the armed forces.