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Former Chinese defence & foreign ministers, missing for months..

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Two former senior ministers of China, Li Shangfu and Qin Gang, who have not appeared in public in over six months, were removed from other positions Tuesday. 

Speculation about their disappearance from the public eye has arisen since China dismissed Li as defence minister in October 2023 over alleged corruption charges and Qin as foreign minister in July last year amid rumours of an affair without an official reason.  

Now, Li’s name as a member of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the communist party has gone missing from China’s defence ministry website. Qin has resigned as a lawmaker in the National People’s Congress (NPC). 

Li removed from party’s military post 

General Li Shangfu has not appeared in public since August 2023. 

Li, who was dismissed as defence minister in October 2023, had been on China’s defence ministry website as the communist party’s CMC member till last week, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported

ThePrint can confirm Li’s name was on the site till 30 December 2023, but it’s gone now. 

The CMC has not officially announced Li’s removal yet. The official date of his removal also remains unknown. 

The CMC, the top defence organisation in China, has two parallel bodies — one in the communist party and one in the state. The two bodies usually have the same members. Chinese president Xi Jinping heads both the bodies as the CMC chairman. 

Li’s name went missing from the state’s CMC on the defence ministry website after his dismissal as defence minister last year, but his name remained on the party’s CMC. 

Li still retains his position on the central committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and is still a member of the National People’s Congress (NPC). 

In September last year, Reuters reported China was investigating Li for procuring military equipment. 

Admiral Dong Jun, a former commander of the Chinese navy, took over as China’s defence minister in December 2023. He, however, has not received the rank of state counsellor and is not a CMC member. All previous defence ministers have had the rank and the membership, according to SCMP. 

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