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China’s Disappearing Generals Could Be Bad for GDP

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Xi Jinping’s widening corruption crackdown may shore up his position but undermine efforts to revive growth. 

The mysterious disappearance of Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu, following the dismissal of two top generals of the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force, has fanned suspicions that President Xi Jinping is cleaning house in Beijing. Some observers speculate that the Chinese leader is feeling threatened because of the poorly performing economy. In fact, the new crackdown could make the task of reviving growth much harder.

Based on official reports, Xi appears to be waging a three-pronged campaign against corruption. The purge that ensnared Li and the Rocket Force generals appears to be aimed at eliminating rot inside the senior ranks of the PLA. The abysmal performance of the graft-ridden Russian military has certainly given Xi cause to worry about a similar disaster if he has to send Chinese forces into battle.

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