Xinhua announced on May 10, that Major General Zhang Fandi, the Political Commissar of Beijing Garrison replaced Lt. General Wang Chunning as a Beijing Communist Party Committee Member and a Standing Committee Member. Wang Chunning is a Lieutenant General. He became the Commander of the Beijing Garrison in 2016. In January this year, he took over the Beijing Communist Party Standing Committee Member position from Jiang Yong, then Beijing Garrison Political Commissar. Major General Zhang Fandi took over the Political Commissar position from Jiang Yong at the same time. Wang Chunning has served the Beijing Standing Committee Member for only four months. 

Referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Shanxi Province on May 11-12, Chen Pokong, a political commentator on China’s affairs who frequently appears on Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, said that Xi Jinping’s trip was linked to the 'soft' removal of Wang Chunning, the Commander of Beijing Garrison. Chen Pokong assessed that: (i) The head of Beijing Garrison is extremely critical to Xi Jinping as it can control Beijing. (ii) Wang Chunning has a higher military rank than Zhang Fandi. In a normal situation, Zhang Fandi would not take over Wang Chunning's Beijing Standing Committee Member position. (iii) This indicates that Xi Jinping no longer trusts Wang. Chunning. (iv) Xi Jinping might do a 'soft' removal of Wang, like what he did to Fu Zhenghua recently. Fu Zhenghua was the Minister of Justice. He was removed from the position of Deputy Party Secretary of Justice Ministry’s Party Committee on April 20, then removed from the Minister of Justice post on April 29, and then removed from the position of Deputy Director of the CCP Central Committee’s Office for the Rule of Law on May 5. (v) When Xi Jinping took down Sun Lijun and Fu Zhenghua, he went to Shaanxi Province, probably to prevent the supporters of Sun Lijun and Fu Zhenghua from taking actions against him in Beijing. This time, Xi Jinping probably did the same thing: going to Shanxi Province while pushing out Wang Chunning. 

(Comment: In the Chinese Communist Party (CCP’s) structure, the People’s Liberation Army unit has two top leaders: a commander in charge of the military actions and a political commissar for political activities. One of them, from a local garrison, also serves as a member of the locale’s (provincial or municipal) communist party standing committee, which is the highest power decision-making organ in the locale.)

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