Where is Chinese Defense Minister Li Changfu? Rumors are growing about his whereabouts

Where is Chinese Defense Minister Li Changfu?  Rumors are growing about his whereabouts

(CNN) — China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday avoided asking questions about the whereabouts of China’s defense minister, amid growing speculation about the investigation the newly promoted general will face.

Li Changfu, who was appointed Minister of Defense in March, has been absent from public view for more than two weeks, sparking rumors about his fate after a series of inexplicable personal moves that shook the top ranks of China’s ruling Communist Party. this summer.

Quoting American officials Financial Times It was reported late Thursday that the US government believes Lee is being investigated. The Wall Street Journal It also reported that authorities took Li for questioning last week, citing a person close to decision-making in Beijing. Neither report provided details about the reason for the investigation.

Li Changfu, China’s Defense Minister, inspects a guard of honor in Singapore on June 1 during the Shangri-La Dialogue. Credit: Lionel Ng/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Asked about Li’s situation at a press conference on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said: “I am not aware of the situation.”

Questions about Li’s whereabouts follow the unexplained disappearance of Chen Gang, who was sacked as China’s foreign minister in late July after disappearing from public view for a month.

Chen, who has been foreign minister for only seven months, retains the position of State Counselor, a senior position in China’s Cabinet that Li also holds.

On Chinese government and military websites, Li is still listed as defense minister, a member of the State Council, and a member of the party’s powerful Central Military Commission.

See also  How Should I Dress For a Gatsby Party?

Li’s disappearance comes weeks after a sudden reorganization of the Chinese army. In July, the People’s Liberation Army abruptly replaced two commanders of the Missile Force, a special military branch that oversees the country’s arsenal of nuclear and ballistic missiles. The dismissed leader has not appeared in public for months.

CNN has contacted US officials for comment.

Lee’s absence was also noted in diplomatic circles. Last week, the US Ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, met with Written in Xthe platform formerly known as Twitter, said that Lee had not appeared in public for two weeks.

In his post, Emanuel said: “President Xi’s cabinet lineup now resembles Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None.’ First Foreign Minister Chen Gang disappears, then the missile force commanders disappear, and now Defense Minister Li Changfu, who has not yet been seen,” he wrote. With the hashtag “MysteryInBeijingBuilding” “publicly for two weeks”.

The successive disappearances of two senior ministers have raised questions about leader Xi Jinping’s government, making China’s political system more uncertain as it concentrates power and imposes strict party discipline.

“The secretary of state and the secretary of defense are external interlocutors with the international community. They will likely be isolated without any explanation or consideration of global perception,” Drew Thompson, a researcher at the Lee School, told CNN on Friday. Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

He added: “This fuels the crisis of confidence in China. It confirms the lack of transparency and complete ambiguity in the country’s decision-making process.”

See also  The Peruvian Ministry of Justice will review the prosecutor's request for Keiko Fujimori's prison sentence

Before his promotion to Defense Minister, Li was head of the Central Military Commission’s Equipment Development Department and was in charge of arms procurement for five years starting in 2017. In this position, the United States imposed sanctions on Li in 2018 over China’s purchase of Russian weapons.

In late July, the Equipment Development Department issued a notice calling for public complaints about corrupt procurement practices dating back to 2017, which coincides with the time Lee was in charge of procurement.

Li was last seen in public on August 29, when he delivered a keynote speech at the China-Africa Peace and Security Forum in Beijing.

He last left China in mid-August, on a trip to Russia and Belarus. In Moscow, Li met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu and described military relations between China and Russia as a “model of cooperation.” In Minsk, he met with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Being out of the public eye for two weeks is not unprecedented for China’s defense minister, who tends to engage in public engagement less frequently than the foreign minister.

However, this has sparked speculation, especially after Chen’s disappearance and dismissal.

Reuters reported, citing Vietnamese officials, that Ly suddenly withdrew last week from an annual meeting with Vietnamese defense leaders along the border between the two countries. The meeting was postponed after Beijing informed Hanoi days before the event that Li was suffering from a “health problem,” Reuters reported, citing two officials.

Ministry of Defense of Vietnam He said in a press conference Last month, Li will lead a Chinese delegation to attend the 8th Friendship Exchange Session on Border Defense from September 7 to 8. No official statement or media report was issued by either party about whether the meeting took place or not.

See also  Carina Neves Serrano wins recount of the vote for Mayor of Aguas Buenas

Aygen Marsh

"Certified introvert. Extreme coffee specialist. Total zombie defender. Booze fanatic. Web geek."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *