Inside Report (4)

Don't be surprised if China's Peoples Liberation Army returns to the hierarchy of military ranks. Top brass still appear at ceremonial occasions like Army Day (Aug. 1) in baggy khaki uniforms without insignias. But Army chief of staff Yan Dezhi (a colonel-general before ranks were abolished during the Cultural Revolution) is back from a visit to Western Europe which included spit-and- polish Britain and France. And missions touring the West shopping for weapons systems have been looking at new uniforms too.

Reorganization must wait, however, until the knotty problem of retirement is solved. The top military echelon, men in their 70s and 80s, are reluctant to retire and lose perks such as official car s, homes, and telephones.m

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