China’s Leadership Shake-Up: Li Shangfu and Qin Gang Ousted Amidst Speculation

Explore China’s recent political shifts as Li Shangfu and Qin Gang are removed from key positions, leaving speculation in their wake. Get the latest insights into China’s leadership changes.

Defence Minister of China Li Shangfu ousted from his position
Defence Minister of China Li Shangfu ousted from his position.

In the latest leadership reshuffle in China, Li Shangfu was removed from his roles as Defense Minister and State Councillor. This development marked the second major leadership change in the country within three months.

Alongside Li Shangfu, Qin Gang, the former Foreign Minister, was also ousted from his position as State Councillor. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative body, made these decisions.

In the wake of these changes, Yin Hejun was appointed as the new Minister of Science and Technology, while Lan Foan took over as Finance Minister.

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Li Shangfu’s removal from office had raised questions as he had been ‘missing’ from public view for two months prior to this announcement. Despite widespread speculation, no official explanation was provided for his removal.

This move was significant, given that Li Shangfu had been under US sanctions due to his involvement in weapon purchases from Russia. These sanctions had led to a halt in military contacts between China and the United States, particularly in protest against American arms sales to Taiwan.

Li Shangfu, aged 65, not only served as Defense Minister and State Councillor but was also a prominent figure in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). He held a position on the Central Military Commission, the ruling body of the PLA, ranking just below its Chairman, Xi Jinping, and Vice-Chairmen Zhang Youxia and He Weidong.

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Xi Jinping had previously set an ambitious goal for the PLA to become a world-leading fighting force by 2049. As of now, no official announcement has been made regarding Li Shangfu’s replacement. This leadership change comes just before a scheduled visit by a Pentagon delegation to Beijing for a regional security forum.

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