China to Replace Defense Minister Not Seen in 2 Months

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    The Facts

    • It has been announced that China's Defense Minister Gen. Li Shangfu will be replaced. Li was appointed by President Xi Jinping in March, but has not been seen in public since he addressed the China-Africa Peace and Security Forum in Beijing on Aug. 29.

    • Li's ousting, which was revealed at the end of a meeting of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, follows the dismissal of Foreign Minister Qin Gang in July, who was relieved amid speculation about a potentially compromising affair during his time as a US ambassador.

    The Spin

    Anti-China narrative

    Though it's not uncommon for officials to be removed for corruption, particularly from within the capital-intensive Rocket Force, Pres. Xi's latest dismissals point less to a crackdown on corruption and more to a series of miscalculated appointments. Xi spent his first seven years in control consolidating power, and it looks like he is still prioritizing personal authority over displaying military strength toward the US. The CCP will continue to be led by Xi for the foreseeable future, but it won't be declaring war any time soon.

    Pro-China narrative

    Minister Li's decorated military career is, unfortunately, the reason for his dismissal. Having risen the ranks from director of China's main satellite launch sites in Xichang to head of the Equipment Development Department of the Central Military Commission before becoming Defense Minister, he was eventually placed under sanctions by then US Pres. Donald Trump due to his involvement in the development program. This caused trouble for the CCP, which is why it was necessary to relieve him of his duties.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 7% chance that there will be active warfare between the United States and China before 2027, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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