Admiral Wu Shengli, who was commander of the PLA navy for more than a decade, was replaced in January while General Du Jincai, who was secretary of the CMC’s disciplinary inspection group for five years, was removed in February. Du allegedly boasted close ties to two former CMC vice chairmen, Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, who were implicated in corruption.

Fang, Wu and Du are all believed to be under investigation related to graft claims, according to media reports. The same goes for General Zhang Yang, former director of the CMC’s general political department.

“These investigations have focused notably on personnel who were allegedly appointed by former vice chairmen and not by Xi’s allies, leading many to believe the crackdown is intended to target the power networks of [Xi’s] potential political rivals,” intelligence firm Stratfor said in a recent note.

“The investigations, along with scheduled vacancies in the senior military ranks, will allow Xi to promote his associates to top military positions and tighten his grip on power,” it added.



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