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HomeChainaFormer Chinese defence minister Li Shangfu removed from Central Military Commission as...

Former Chinese defence minister Li Shangfu removed from Central Military Commission as downfall gathers pace


It is not clear when exactly his name was removed, and Beijing has not made any public announcements about his removal or explained when the decision was taken.

Li, who had not been seen in public since late August, was removed as defence minister and state councillor without explanation at a meeting of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee in October last year. He had only been in the post for months.

China’s top legislative body to discuss ‘appointments and dismissals’

The Central Military Commission is a parallel system for the party and the state, with the same membership. Li had already been removed from the state CMC in October.

Li is still a member of the party’s Central Committee and retains his seat in the legislature.

Last year also saw a number of senior generals being removed from their commands, prompting speculation that President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive is deepening in the military.

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China sacks defence minister Li Shangfu with no explanation after nearly two-month absence

China sacks defence minister Li Shangfu with no explanation after nearly two-month absence

Nine of those commanders were also stripped of their seats in the legislature in December.

The NPC this month said the nine were suspected of “violations of discipline and the law”, usually a euphemism for corruption.

Questions have also been raised about the fate of Li’s predecessor Wei Fenghe, after he did not appear on a list of senior officials who received Lunar New Year greetings from the leadership – a common courtesy. Wei has not been seen in public since then.

Removal of China’s defence minister ends Li Shangfu’s stratospheric career

New Defence Minister Dong Jun, a former head of the navy, has not yet been given the rank of state councillor or a seat on the CMC, something all previous defence ministers have received.

The NPC Standing Committee met on Tuesday ahead of next week’s meeting of the full legislature –both events that might provide a window of opportunity to confirm those appointments.

Additional reporting by Amber Wang



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