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General Xiong seen as China's next Defense Minister

Sources in Beijing are confirming that General Xiong Guangkai, Vice Chief of Staff of the People's Liberation Army, will soon succeed Chi Haotian, current Defense Minister. This news has dismissed the clouded expectation that General Yu Yongpo, current Chief of the People’s Army Politics Department, would fill this position.

This changing of the guard will reportedly be announced in the coming March 2003. This leak in information comes as a surprise to many insiders because very few persons with intelligence backgrounds have ever been promoted to such a position in the history of Communist China.

Xiong speaks fluent German, English, Japanese, and some French, sources say. He also shares a common hobby with China’s President Jiang: singing with a microphone in hand. Since 1960, Xiong began military intelligence work in the Defense Ministry, and has since acquired a broad understanding of global strategic issues. He was once stationed in Germany as Vice Military officer and was selected to be a supplementary member of Central Communist Party Committee in September 1997. His wife, Shou Ruli, is a chemical engineer at China Aviation Technology Import and Export Corporation in Beijing. She is said to be very bright and sociable. Xiong and Shou have two daughters.

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