Last Updated on 2023/12/28
Xi Jinping’s Military Purge: Influential Defense Figures Removed in Anti-Corruption Effort.
In a significant development, three senior aerospace and defence business leaders have been removed from a prominent political advisory body to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This move is part of a broader purge of figures linked to China’s military.
The individuals removed include Liu Shiquan, the chair of the weapons manufacturer China North Industries Group; Wu Yansheng, the chair of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation; and Wang Changqing, a deputy manager at the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (Casic). Their removal was reported by state media and involved their positions within the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a government advisory body consisting of CCP delegates and representatives from various industry groups.
Liu Shiquan has a notable history as the previous chair of Casic, a key state-owned company and China’s largest missile manufacturer. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Liu was arrested in September, alongside other unnamed aerospace-defence executives.
The leader of China, Xi Jinping, has been overseeing a substantial shake-up of the military, framed as part of an anti-corruption campaign. However, specific reasons for these removals are typically undisclosed, leading to speculations about internal conflicts or other motives.
In a related event, Li Shangfu, China’s defence minister, was removed after just seven months in office. Li, who has not been seen publicly since late August, is believed to be under investigation, with the focus of this investigation remaining unclear. Additionally, two senior leaders in the People’s Liberation Army’s rocket force were replaced in August, suggesting attempts to dismantle existing patronage networks within the military.
The purge appears to be connected to an investigation by the equipment procurement department of the central military commission announced in July. This investigation aims to uncover malpractices in the bid evaluation process and abuses of power. Li Shangfu was the head of this department from 2017 to 2022.
According to the Sing Tao Daily, a Hong Kong newspaper citing unnamed sources, Liu, Wu, and Wang are implicated in the rocket force investigation. This investigation’s implications are significant, given China’s objective to be technologically prepared to annex Taiwan by 2027, a goal reportedly set by Xi Jinping.
A report from the Royal United Services Institute, a defence think tank, indicates that the period between 2026 and 2028 is critical for China’s military ambitions in Taiwan and the South China Sea. The report suggests that China’s capabilities would be sufficiently advanced by then, while the US might not be fully prepared to respond.
The rocket force is under scrutiny, partly due to US intelligence’s comprehensive knowledge of its structure and capabilities, raising concerns about espionage within Beijing’s ranks. Leaked Pentagon reports revealed a successful test of a Chinese intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of penetrating US missile defense systems.
Source: The Guardian