War hero pro­moted to PLA’s chief of staff

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Front Page - By ZHAO LEI in Bei­jing zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China has ap­pointed a war hero as chief of staff of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army, ac­cord­ing to the De­fense Min­istry.

Gen­eral Li Zuocheng, 63, a na­tive of Hu­nan prov­ince, met top-rank­ing mil­i­tary of­fi­cers of Pak­istan and Afghanistan over the week­end in Dushanbe, cap­i­tal of Ta­jik­istan, in his new ca­pac­ity as chief of the PLA Joint Staff Depart­ment, a news re­lease from the min­istry said.

This means Li, who was com­man­der of the PLA Ground Force, is slated to be­come a mem­ber of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, the top mil­i­tary rul­ing body in China, with Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping as its chair­man, be­cause all of Li’s pre­de­ces­sors were in­cluded in the com­mis­sion af­ter they be­came the PLA’s chief of staff.

It re­mains un­known when Li re­ceived his new ap­point­ment, as the PLA does not pub­lish de­tailed in­for­ma­tion about its per­son­nel reshuf­fles.

How­ever, the move had to be within this past week be­cause Gen­eral Fang Fenghui, Li’s pre­de­ces­sor, was re­ported — while still as chief of the PLA Joint Staff Depart­ment — to have had talks with a top Thai mil­i­tary com­man­der on Aug 21 in Bei­jing.

Fang was named chief of staff of the PLA in Oc­to­ber 2012. Af­ter trans­fer­ring the post to Li, he re­mains a mem­ber of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion.

Born in Oc­to­ber 1953, Li joined the PLA Ground Force in 1970. He be­came na­tion­ally known in 1979 af­ter he led his com­pany to vic­tory through a fierce bat­tle that lasted 26 con­sec­u­tive days dur­ing Si­noViet­namese border con­flicts that year. Li later was awarded the ti­tle “Com­bat Hero” for his com­mand of the com­pany and the fact he re­mained at the front line of the bat­tle de­spite mul­ti­ple in­juries.

Af­ter the war, he con­tin­ued to move up through the ranks. In 1997, Li was pro­moted to ma­jor gen­eral. In 2009, he was ad­vanced to lieu­tenant gen­eral in the of­fice of the deputy chief of the for­mer Chengdu Mil­i­tary Com­mand. In 2013, he was named chief of the com­mand. Two years later, he was given the PLA’s top rank — gen­eral — and was ap­pointed as the first com­man­der of the PLA Ground Force Head­quar­ters, which was es­tab­lished on the last day of 2015.

The last time Li ap­peared in news re­ports as the Ground Force com­man­der was on July 31, when he signed a let­ter to mem­bers of the ser­vice to mark PLA Day on Aug 1.

Li Zuocheng, newly ap­pointed chief of staff of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army

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