General Xu Caihou (徐才厚) (1943-) is the Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), mainly responsible for overseeing the political and ideological affairs in the armed forces. He ranks No.3 in the CMC, and is also a member of the member of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party. General Xu was appointed his current position in September 2004. Before that he was the Director of the PLA General Political Department (GPD).
Xu was born in June 1943 in Liaoning Province and joined the PLA at age 20 in August 1963. From August 1963 and December 1968, he was a cadet in the PLA Harbin Military Academy of Engineering, major in Electronic Engineering. However, his studies were interrupted when the ‘Cultural Revolution’ began in 1966. As a result, he worked in a farm of the PLA 39th Army for two years and then served as a soldier for 15 months. He became a member of the Chinese Communist Party in 1971. Between 1971 and 1972, he served as the political director. Between 1972 and 1984, Xu served in various roles in the political department of the Jilin Provincial Military District. He also studied in the PLA Political Academy between 1980 and 1982.
In 1984, Xu was appointed head of the Mass Work Department of the Shenyang Military Region (MR). Within less than a year, he was appointed director of the Political Department of the 16th Group Army Headquarters. In June 1990, Xu was appointed political commissar of the 16th Group Army. A giant leap forward was made in his career, when he was appointed Director Assistant of the PLA General Political Department (GPD) in November 1992. During the next few years he served as the Director Assistant and later the Deputy Director of the GPD. He was also the chief of the PLA Daily, the official newspaper of the PLA.
In November 1996, Xu left the GPD to become the Political Commissar of the Jinan MR, and the Party secretary of the Jianan MR party committee. In September 1999, he was brought back to Beijing to become the Executive Deputy Director of the GPD, and a member of the CMC. At the same time, he was promoted to General. In November 2002, he was appointed GPD Director and also gained membership in the Chinese Communist Party Secretariat. In 2004, he was appointed the Vice Chairman of the CMC.
Last update: 24 August 2008