While the details of Xi Jinping's ability to make senior members of China's elite disappear are difficult to verify, the Chinese president's grip on power can neither be underestimated nor ignored. At a time when the PRC is in dire need of economic stability, Jinping continues to engage in unexplained personnel changes. It's clear that the CCP continues to act behind a veil of mystery.
External powers shouldn't waste time reading tea leaves. Li Shangfu is a widely respected diplomat, and any wild speculation about his status is simply unfounded. Premature reports of his so-called fall from grace are being greatly exaggerated. Despite a thirst for cloak-and-dagger stories of diplomatic intrigue by the West, it's simply business as usual in China.
There's a 50% chance that Xi Jinping will leave power by May 2030, according to the Metaculus prediction community.