China’s Defense Minister goes missing after delivering speech on August 29

China's Defense Minister Li Shangfu has been missing from public eye for at least two weeks, raising speculations about his whereabouts.

Beijing: China’s Defense Minister Li Shangfu has not made any public appearances for at least two weeks, raising speculations about his whereabouts and future in the Chinese leadership. This absence comes amidst recent leadership changes and investigations into corruption cases within the military.

Li Shangfu, China’s defense minister, has not been seen in public since delivering a keynote speech at the 3rd China-Africa Peace and Security Forum in Beijing, which took place on August 29. His prolonged absence from public view has led to questions and speculations both within and outside China.

Recent leadership changes in China, including the demotion of key officials, have fueled speculations about Li Shangfu’s status. President Xi Jinping has taken steps to ensure unity and stability within the military, leading to the removal of officials like Qin Gang, commanders Li Yuchao, and Xu Zhongbo.

During a recent inspection in the northeastern region of China, President Xi Jinping emphasized the importance of unity and stability within the military. He called for increased efforts in troop education and management to maintain a high level of unity, security, and stability.

Rahm Emanuel, the US ambassador to Japan, commented on the absence of officials like Qin Gang and the changes within the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force. These remarks have added to the discussions surrounding Chinese leadership changes.

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Li Shangfu’s disappearance coincides with a corruption probe related to hardware procurement conducted over five years ago. The investigation, initiated in July, has focused on issues such as leaking information on projects and army units, as well as favoritism shown to certain companies in securing bids.

While Li Shangfu headed the equipment department from September 2017 to 2022, there have been no indications that he is suspected of any wrongdoing in connection with the ongoing corruption probe.

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