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Li Shangfu removed as China Defence Minister after 2 months’ disapperance

General Li Shangfu's ouster came after disappeared from public view two months ago.

After months of speculation, China removed General Li Shangfu from the position of defence minister and state councillor, China-based Global Times reported.
This is the second major ousting by Beijing in the last three months. This came after Li disappeared from public view two months ago.
Notably, Qin Gang — former Chinese Foreign Minister who was also replaced after remaining absent from public view for long — was also stripped of his position of state councillor.
President Xi Jinping signed a presidential decree Tuesday to remove Li Shangfu as China’s State Councilor and Minister of National Defense, and to remove Qin Gang as State Councilor, Global Times reported.
It is pertinent that Beijing has neither given any explanation nor announced any replacement leaving the country without a defence minister as it prepares to host foreign defence officials at the Beijing Xiangshan Forum on October 29-31.
Earlier in March, the National People’s Congress (NPC) endorsed secretary-general of the State Council and heads of 26 departments of the State Council at a plenary meeting of the first session of the 14th NPC, including Li as the minister of national defense, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
Before being appointed as China’s defense minister, Li used to be the director of China’s main satellite launch sites in Xichang, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, and has played a major role in lunar exploration missions, making him an aerospace expert who was a senior official of China’s space project, according to publicly available information, according to Global Times.
He then served as the deputy commander of the Strategic Support Force of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army when the force was founded in late 2015, before becoming the head of the Equipment Development Department of the Central Military Commission (CMC) in 2017.
When he was in charge of the CMC Equipment Development Department, the administration of then US President Donald Trump sanctioned him and the department in 2018 for purchasing Russian weapons, including Su-35 combat aircraft and S-400 surface-to-air missile systems.
The sanction later became a trouble to China-US military exchanges when Li became the Chinese defense minister, Global Times reported.
Li made his last public appearance at the Third China-Africa Peace and Security Forum held in Beijing in August.
Earlier, Qin Gang was removed from his position as Foreign Minister in July. Like Li, Qin too disappeared from public sight in June and was later replaced by Wang Yi. Beijing’s foreign ministry steadfastly refused to comment on his disappearance.
Similarly, when Xi this summer purged the top two leaders of the PLA Rocket Force, the only information released by Beijing was an announcement of their replacements.
Since China’s 20th Party Congress last October, Xi has consolidated power, elevating a cadre of high-level officials based on their loyalty and closeness to him.