China’s defense minister has not been seen publicly for weeks, prompting speculation about yet another mysterious disappearance in Beijing’s top ranks, according to multiple reports.
Gen. Li Shangfu has not been seen in public since he delivered a speech at the China-Africa Peace and Security Forum last month, according to The Times of India. Shangfu is the latest top official within Chinese President Xi Jin Ping’s cabinet to vanish without an apparent explanation after the disappearance and removal of Foreign Minister Qin Gang.
“President Xi’s cabinet lineup is now resembling Agatha Christie’s novel ‘And Then There Were None,’” Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, said in a tweet on Sept. 7. “First, Foreign Minister Qin Gang goes missing, then the Rocket Force commanders go missing, and now Defense Minister Li Shangfu hasn’t been seen in public for two weeks.”
Qin had vanished from public eye and was removed from his post in July. Chinese media ignored Qin’s disappearance after he was replaced, and his information was scrubbed from Chinese internet.
President Xi’s cabinet lineup is now resembling Agatha Christie’s novel And Then There Were None. First, Foreign Minister Qin Gang goes missing, then the Rocket Force commanders go missing, and now Defense Minister Li Shangfu hasn’t been seen in public for two weeks. Who’s going…
— ラーム・エマニュエル駐日米国大使 (@USAmbJapan) September 8, 2023
“Who’s going to win this unemployment race? China’s youth or Xi’s cabinet?” Emanuel’s tweet read.
Li was previously sanctioned in 2018 by the U.S. after purchasing a combat aircraft and ground-to-air missiles from a sanctioned Russian manufacturer, Reuters reported.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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