Taiwan's Liberty Times News commented (July 31) on the promotion of Xu Zhongbo, Political Commissar of the PLA Rocket Force (PLARF), to the rank of a full General. It said video footage from CCTV showed that Xu was the only officer at the ceremony accepting a promotion. The ceremony only lasted a little over one minute while six Central Military Commission members sat in the background with straight faces. In the photo that Xi Jinping took with Xu Zhongbo, Xi Jinping appeared to be preoccupied and did not seem happy. The report quoted a commentator from the Epoch Times who stated that, as domestic infighting and external pressure have been intensifying, Xi Jinping is using his appearances to show off his military power. In the past two weeks, Xi Jinping visited the following: On July 22-24 he went to the Siping War Memorial and the Changchun Aviation University in Jilin province. [Editor’s note: During his visit, Xi said, “We must defend the great socialist cause created by the party and pass it on from generation to generation.] A few days later, Xi used his military power to warn his opponent. [Editor’s note: On July 30, members of Central Politburo attended a group study session where Xi Jinping emphasized that “a strong country must have a strong army, and a strong army can ensure national security.”] The promotion of Xu Zhongbo appears to have broken protocol because Xu Zhongbo was appointed to the position of Political Commissar not too long ago. It assessed that during this uncertain period, Xi Jinping has to make unconventional moves to show that his senior ranking officers are still loyal to him.

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