Liao was elevated to CMC membership and named the Director of the General Logistics Department (GLD) at the 16th CPC Congress in November 2002. One of his notable accomplishments since taking over control of the GLD was his role in coordinating the PLA’s tsunami relief effort that airlifted more than 400 tons of relief supplies to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
Born: June 1940, Guizhou Province
Rank: CMC Member (Grade 2)
Current Positions: Member of the Central Military Commission (CMC), Director of the PLA General Logistics Department (GLD)
Delegations Headed: March 2001 – Mongolia
October 1999 – DPRK
June 1997 – India, Nepal, Vietnam
Comments: Originally from southwest China's Guizhou Province, Liao joined the PLA at the age of 18 and became a party member four years later in 1963. His first 12 years in the army were spent exclusively in the Guizhou Provincial Military District where he eventually rose to become a company commander. Liao later served as the deputy heads of the Military Affairs and Operations and Training Sections at the headquarters of the 11th Army’s 31st Division. After a brief stint as a deputy regiment commander in the 31st Division, Liao spent a year and a half at the PLA Military Academy where he studied at the school’s Basic Department. Liao graduated in 1981 and returned to the 31st Division becoming its commander in 1983 before being promoted to commander of the 11th Army the following year. Liao moved to the Chengdu Military Region (MR) in 1985 where he served as deputy commander for the next ten years. During his second year in this billet, Liao spent three months at the PLA’s newly established National Defense University in Beijing, studying at the school’s Department of National Defense Research. In 1995 Liao was promoted to commander of the Chengdu MR and deputy secretary of the MR Party Committee. Interestingly Liao attended graduate school at this time, studying social and economic development and management at Beijing University and graduating in 2001 with a degree in Applied Sociology. Liao was elevated to CMC membership and named the Director of the General Logistics Department (GLD) at the 16th CPC Congress in November 2002. One of his notable accomplishments since taking over control of the GLD was his role in coordinating the PLA’s tsunami relief effort that airlifted more than 400 tons of relief supplies to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
Foreign Travel: Since his elevation to the CMC in 2002, Liao is not reported to have traveled abroad and his previously reported foreign travel did not take him outside of Asia. His most significant trip abroad came in April 1998 when he accompanied the chief of the General Staff Fu Quanyou on a mission to India to discuss military confidence building measures. While in India, he met with then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Defense Minister George Fernandes, as well as with the heads of the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force. Liao also led a trip to the DPRK in October 1999 where he met with both Kim Jong-il and DPRK Defense Minister Kim Il-chol. In recent years, Liao has only met with a handful of visiting dignitaries hailing primarily from countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In all likelihood, Liao’s exposure to the West is fairly limited.
The author is an Asia security analyst for the CNA Corporation, Washington, DC.