China Leadership Monitor

"Ding, Dong, The Witch is Dead!"—Foreign Policy and Military Intelligence Assessments after the Retirement of General Xiong Guangkai

Monday, January 30, 2006

For more than a decade, General Xiong Guangkai used his position as the head of military intelligence to influence Chinese leadership assessments of foreign and security policy, especially Sino-U.S. relations. News reports suggest that General Xiong has finally retired, after staying in his position well past the mandatory retirement age, a longevity that most foreign observers attributed to his self-described and perhaps real indispensability. His replacement, General Zhang Qinsheng, is not a military intelligence officer by training, but has instead occupied a series of critical staff and command positions. This article analyzes General Zhang's known biographical data and presents his limited public comments for clues about his outlook and attitudes.