OSINF Translation – Recent Military Command Turnover in TAR
Information Regarding Promotion and Transfer of General Grade PLA Army Officers, Transfer of Commander of Tibet Military Command, Transfer of Deputy Commander of Tibet Military Command and Tibet’s Military Status
1. An article published in Sina.com on 07 January 2020 with a title “After the Transfer of Commander of Tibet Military Command / Area, the position of this newly promoted Lt Gen is unusual” is reproduced below (as verbatim translation): –
[(Original title: After the commander of the Tibet Military Command / Area was transferred, the position of the newly promoted Lieutenant General who went to the battlefield is unusual)
Source: Beijing Youth Daily.
Written by: Xue Li
At the end of the year (2019) and the beginning of the year (2020), adjustment (posting/transfer) of the present high-level military officers of Tibet Military Command/Area.
An article published in Caixin on 06 January 2020 revealed that at the end of 2019, the newly promoted army Lt Gen Wang Haijiang has recently appointed as a member of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region Party Committee and appeared at the Tibet Political Consultative Conference on January 6. At the same time, Lt Gen Xu Yong, former member of the Tibet Party Committee and former commander of the Tibet Military Command/Area was transferred.
It was noticed from the political and intellectual circles (WeChat ID : wepolitics) that after the completion of the current round of military reforms, the Tibet Military Command/Area compared with other provincial level military command/area has very peculiarity in its functions, ranks and deployment of hierarchical superiors (officers).
Change of the ‘Military Members’ of Tibet’s Standing Committee
According to the Tibet Daily WeChat public account, on 06 January 2020, the third meeting of the 11th Tibet Autonomous Region Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) opened in Lhasa. Wu Yingjie, Luosang Jiangcun, Qi Zhala, Ding Yexian, Zhuangyan, Wang Haijiang, He Wenhao, Baima Wangdui, Liu Jiang, Wang Weidong, Chen Yongqi, Lieque, Basang etc were attended the meeting to congratulate and guide, and took their seats on the podium.
The report in Caixin’s article pointed out that the name of Wang Haijiang was shown in the list between the rank seniority of two standing committee members of Tibet Party Committee Zhuang Yan (presently the Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of the Autonomous Region and the Executive Vice Chairman of the Autonomous Region Government) and He Wenhao (the current member of the Party Committee and Secretary of the Political and Legal Committee of the Autonomous Region). This shows that Wang Haijiang has been a member of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Party Committee.
Looking at from all sides of the members of the standing committees of various provinces in China, the military members of standing committee of provincial Party committees are usually served concurrently by Commander of provincial Military area/Command or Political Commissar, and Tibet is no exception.
A few days ago, Lt Gen Xu Yong, former member of the Tibet Party Committee and former Commander of the Tibet Military Area /Command was notified to transfer.
On January 4, the Tibet Autonomous Region People ’s Congress Standing Committee announced that Jiang Guojie, Xu Yong, and Zhang Xiyuan, representatives of the Eleventh Tibetan People ’s Congress elected by Shigatse (Rikaze) and the Tibet Military Area / Command, were transferred and terminated the duties of the three members of the Tibet Autonomous Region’s Eleventh National People’s Congress by themselves.
Fought heroically on the frontline of the borders
Wang Haijiang, now 56 years age, is a native of Anyue, Sichuan province, and was just promoted to the rank of Lt Gen in December 2019. At the same time, Political experts Circle (WeChat ID: wepolitics) found that Wang Haijiang has served in China’s border areas for many years.
According to his resume, Wang Haijiang has served as a Division Commander and Deputy Commander of the Southern Xinjiang Military Area /Command. In 2016, he served as Deputy Commander of the Tibet Military / Command.
Compared with Wang Haijiang and Xu Yong who just transferred, these two generals who have worked together in the past in Tibet have a common “tag”- Experienced General / Warrior. The reason why it is being said because Xu Yong and Wang Haijiang both in the past fought bravely in the 1970s and 1980s when they went deep into the border frontline to carry out operation.
In the March 2018 issue of the ‘People’s Liberation Army Daily’, Wang Haijiang citing an example was quoted as saying: “I was one of the first batch of students who participated in the college entrance examination from a local place after entering the national college entrance examination in 1977. Soon after graduation, I joined the border Self-defense and counterattack operations led officers and men to approach frontier positions for reconnaissance several times, and was cited with first-class credit for fighting heroically.”
The 60 years old Xu Yong is from Guanxian County, Shandong Province. He has participated in the Sino-Vietnamese war in 1979 and performed well in the counterattack battle on the Fourth Bridge. In addition, after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, he led his troops to the epicenter on foot, and was the first general to advance into Yingxiu Town.
Resume shows that Xu Yong has served for a long time in the former Chengdu Military Region. In 2008, he served as the commander of former 13th Group Army, known as the “Tiger in the Mountains”. In July 2013, Xu Yong served as Commander of the Tibet Military Region and ranked among a general at the deputy military region level. From January 2018, he has also served as a member of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Party Committee.
High Level Adjustment of Key Officers
The high-level adjustment of the Tibet Military Comand/Area has attracted much attention, and there is also a structural background. For a long time, among the provincial level military area /command in China, Beijing Garrison Command, Xinjiang Military Command/Area and Tibet Military Command/Area have special status. This is still the case after the military reform.
After the founding of New China, all provinces and autonomous regions established provincial level military districts. Municipalities directly under the central government separately established Garrison Command or Garrison Areas. Among them, Beijing set up Garrison Command and Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing set up Garrison Areas.
Data shows that the formation of provincial level military districts organizational system is generally a military post/appointment, and its functions are mainly to coordinate military-civilian relations, conscription (resettlement of demobilized) work, and building, training, and managing of local troops. In addition, the provincial level military district/area is usually also responsible for the daily administration work of garrisoned troops of frontier defense and reserve divisions (regiments).
At this stage, the Beijing Garrison Command, Xinjiang Military Command/ Area, and Tibet Military Command/Area have shown their peculiarities.
Due to the role of surrounding and protecting the capital city and its environs, the chief officer of Beijing Garrison Command is higher than the other provincial level military commands, higher as sub military region level.
`Compared with the post/appoint of other provincial-level military command /area organizational system, the Xinjiang Military District was upgraded to the level of Sub Military Region in October 1998, and its military and political chiefs were generally served by the lieutenant general (others were generally major generals). The military and political key officers of the Tibet Military Command/Area are similar to those of the Beijing Garrison Command, with a higher-ranking rank at the Sub Military Region level.
In addition, the political and intellectual circles observed the composition of the Central Committee in recent sessions and found that among the Commanders or Political Commissars of the Xinjiang Military Command/Area and Tibet Military Command/Area, usually there is one member of the central committee.
Undertaking of Combat Tasks
After the military reform, the special characteristics of the above three provincial military commands/areas remain, and the Tibet Military Command has even strengthened to some extent.
Before the military reform in 2016, the provincial level Military Districts (Garrison Commands and Garrison Districts) were regarded as the second-line troops, that is, the local defense reserve forces, similar to the combat troops (group army) placed under the jurisdiction of the original seven Military Regions. After the military reform, the Military Regions were revoked and reorganized into Theatre Commands (War Zones). The provincial Military Command /Area is no more affiliated with the corresponding Theatre Command, and instead it is under the jurisdiction of the National Defense Mobilization Department of Central Military Commission.
However, the provincial Military Commands/Areas placed under the National Defense Mobilization Department do not include the Beijing Garrison Command, the Tibet Military Command, and the Xinjiang Military Command.
Official reports show that the above mentioned three provincial level Military Commands have been placed under the leadership of the Army. In addition, after the military reform, the Tibet Military Command/Area was upgraded to the level of Sub Military Region, and tied with the Xinjiang Military Command, these have become China’s only two high-level provincial level Military Commands/Areas.
‘China News Weekly’ once pointed out that the transfer and placing of the Beijing Garrison Command, Tibet Military Command, and Xinjiang Military Command under the Army means that the three military command units are combat troops/field forces that need to undertake main combat tasks and operate across regions.
The ‘China National Defense News’ has published an article that the functions of the provincial level Military Command system after the military reform can be summarized as:
First, actively cooperate with local organizations to organize militia reserve personnel to carry out operations such as rescue and disaster relief, counter-terrorism and stability maintenance, and handling of emergencies.
Second, serve as good adviser and assistant for local party committees at same level and perform the functions of grasping and managing of armed works.
Three, to organize and lead the construction of people’s militia and reserve forces.
Fourth, coordinate the relevant departments to do a good job of recruiting soldiers and resettlement of retired soldiers.
In response to these three special provincial level military commands, ‘China News Weekly’ commented that the importance of surrounding and protect the capital city (Beijing) and its environs by Beijing Garrison Command is self-evident. Tibet and Xinjiang, as China’s western frontiers, are also the common borders of regional security, facing the threats of extremism and separatist forces in the region, and have always held special positions in China’s military domain.]
(a) Promotion and posting/transfer of high level (Gen grade) officers of Tibet
Military Command/ Area was carried out in the end of year 2019 and in the beginning of year 2020.
(b) Lt Gen Wang Haijiang who was promoted to PLA Army Lt Gen in December 2019 appears to have appointed as a member of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region Party Committee. He had appeared at the Tibet Political Consultative Conference on 06 January 2020. He is 56 years and is a native of Anyue in Sichuan province.
(c) A few days ago, Lt Gen Xu Yong, former member of the Tibet Party committee and former Commander of the Tibet Military Area /Command has been transferred.
(d) Zhuang Yan has been revealed as the current Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of the Autonomous Region and the Executive Vice Chairman of the Autonomous Region Government.
(e) He Wenhao has been revealed as the current member of the Party Committee and Secretary of the Political and Legal Committee of Tibet Autonomous Region.
(f) Jiang Guojie, Xu Yong, and Zhang Xiyuan, representatives of the Eleventh Tibetan People ’s Congress elected by Shigatse (Rikaze) and the Tibet Military Area / Command, were transferred and terminated the duties of the three members of the Tibet Autonomous Region’s Eleventh National People’s Congress by themselves.
(g) Maj Gen Zhang Xiyuan, who was appointed as Deputy Political Commissar of Tibet Military Command in November 2016 has been transferred on 03 Jan 2020.