China’s defence minister, Li Shangfu, has been officially dismissed, two months after his absence from public events was noticed. The reasons for his removal have not been provided, and no successor has been named. This follows the recent dismissal of several other high-ranking officials, including Qin Gang, who was previously ousted as foreign minister in July. Both Li and Qin have also been removed from positions on China’s State Council.
- Defence Minister Li Shangfu, who only held the position since March, has been removed from his role and was last publicly seen on August 29.
- Reuters had reported that Li was under investigation for possible corruption connected to equipment procurement and development.
- Gen Li, an aerospace engineer, faced US sanctions in 2018 due to China’s purchases of Russian arms and had declined to meet his US counterpart Lloyd Austin earlier this year.
- Qin Gang, another top official, was removed as China’s foreign minister in July, with rumors citing an extramarital affair during his ambassadorship to the US as a possible reason.
- The recent oustings, including leaders of a unit overseeing the nuclear arsenal, have fueled speculations of a larger political purge in China’s government.