CHINA: Shifting the Generals

When Chairman Mao Tse-tung's Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution finally shuddered toward an end five years ago, the machinery of government was paralyzed, the structure of the Communist Party shattered, and China teetered on the brink of anarchy. It was the leaders of the nation's armed forces who then filled the political vacuum.

Last week eight of China's eleven powerful regional military commands received new commanders in a surprise shake-up that severely diminished the pervasive political influence of the 2.7 million People's Liberation Army.

Although the moves were routinely reported, China watchers saw them as the biggest political event on the main...

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