China's Defence Minister Li Shangfu Photograph:(Twitter)
BEIJING: Amid a period of leadership restructuring in China, Defense Minister Li Shangfu has been conspicuously absent from public appearances for over two weeks.
This unexpected absence has sparked widespread speculation about his current whereabouts and political standing within the Chinese leadership hierarchy.
This development coincides with recent shifts in China’s leadership landscape and ongoing investigations into corruption cases within the military.
Li Shangfu’s last public appearance occurred during his keynote speech at the 3rd China-Africa Peace and Security Forum in Beijing on August 29, and he has not been seen in public since that event.
The recent leadership changes in China, which have included the demotion of key officials, have only intensified speculations about Li Shangfu’s current status.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has also taken decisive actions within the Chinese military, resulting in the removal of notable figures such as Qin Gang, as well as commanders Li Yuchao and Xu Zhongbo.
This is widely interpreted as part of Xi’s efforts to consolidate his control over the military, particularly in the midst of ongoing geopolitical tensions.
During a recent inspection in China’s northeastern region, President Xi Jinping emphasized the paramount importance of unity and stability within the military.
He called for heightened focus on combat readiness and maintaining unity and stability within the armed forces.