China’s ministry of defense confirmed new senior military position appointments in the first stage of a leadership transition that will culminate in March, Financial Times reported. The ministry said Tuesday that General Ma Xiaotian had been promoted to commander of the air force from his position as deputy chief of the general staff. General Zhang Yang, previously the political commissar of the Guangzhou military area, was named the director of the general political department. The promotions indicate that each general will become a member of the central military commission, the authority that leads the People’s Liberation Army. Chinese military analysts said that Zhang’s appointment signals the fall from favor of General Liu Yuan and General Zhang Haiyang, allies of disgraced former Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai, who were candidates for Zhang’s position.