China purges former defense chief after he vanished from public eye for months

By Around the Web

Jake Smith
Daily Caller News Foundation

Beijing expelled a former defense chief from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) after he went missing for months amid a massive shakeup to root out corruption from the military, Chinese state media reported Thursday.

CCP leadership decided to oust former Defense Minister Li Shangfu and his predecessor Wei Fenghe from the party “for serious violation of party discipline and law,” Chinese state media reported. Li mysteriously disappeared from the public eye in August after last being seen at a security conference in Beijing, and it was announced by Chinese-state media months later that he had been removed from his post, according to the Associated Press.

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“As a high-ranking official of the Party and the military, Li betrayed the Party’s original aspiration and its principles,” state media outlet Xinhua reported, claiming that Li had leveraged his position for personal benefits and accepted bribes. “His disciplinary and law violations brought enormous damage to the Party’s cause.”

Wei was stripped of his party title for similar allegations, including that he “seriously violated discipline regarding integrity” by accepting bribes in exchange for violating party rules, according to Xinhua.

Li is among others who have recently vanished or been removed from their posts in the military over suspected allegations of graft. U.S. intelligence indicated that President Xi Jinping fired over a dozen high-level officials from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Rocket Force throughout 2023, rooting them out from China’s military force over concerns that they had weakened China’s military capabilities by enabling graft and cutting corners, officials previously told Bloomberg.

Beijing found evidence that a network of Chinese missile silos had been built so poorly that missiles could not be launched from them, according to Bloomberg. Some missiles could not be launched at all because their tanks were filled with water instead of fuel.

Some officials were removed for “leaking information” and leveraging their roles to help companies secure bids with the government, according to Bloomberg.

Xi is less likely to launch a major military operation in the coming years while problems are addressed, per Bloomberg.

Xi hinted during an address to military officials in June that more purges and removals were on the way, according to the South China Morning Post.

“We must make it clear that the barrels of guns must always be in the hands of those who are loyal and dependable to the party,” Xi told the officials at a conference, according to the Post. “And we must make it clear that there is no place for any corrupt elements in the military.”

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