BEIJING — Army Chief of Staff Yang Dezhi, who oversaw deep cuts in military manpower and defense spending during his seven-year tenure, was replaced Friday by a younger officer, an official report said.
Gen. Yang, 77, was replaced by 61-year-old Chi Haotian, the political commissar of the Jinan Military Command and former deputy chief of staff, the official New China News Agency reported.
Yang's retirement had been expected ever since he was dropped from the Communist Party's ruling Politburo at a major party congress earlier this month.
The New China News Agency also said two other top officers were replaced by younger men, in keeping with a campaign to rejuvenate the leadership in the party, government and military.
Two Generals Replaced
Gen. Yu Qiuli, 73, director of the General Political Department, was replaced by Yang Baibing, political commissar of the Beijing Military Area; and Gen. Hong Xuezhi, 74, director of the General Logistics Department, was replaced by his deputy, Zhao Nanqi, in his 50s. Yang Baibing is believed to be 66.
Yu and Hong also had been widely expected to retire. Yu, like Yang Dezhi, was dropped from the party Politburo at the recent congress. He is believed to side with political conservatives who recently appear to have lost steam in their efforts to slow China's program of economic decentralization and political reform.
Yu's successor, Yang Baibing, is considered a moderate. Yang was viewed as a rising star at the congress when he became one of the few military men to gain seats on the party Central Committee.