The removal of the Chinese foreign and defense ministers seems to reinforce the order of total obedience of leader Xi Jinping and the elimination of any potential rival within the ruling Communist Partysay analysts.
State media confirmed this week that former Defense Minister Li Shangfu and former Foreign Minister Qin Gang “they are no longer in operation”but did not go into details.
The opacity of the authoritarian one-party system generates a lot of rumors about the resignation of both officials and whether they will face legal problems. Both Li and Qin were appointed during Xi’s rule, indicating that they should have been subjected to close scrutiny, but their personal conduct or political alliances later raised questions.
“It is possible to see in the realignment a manifestation of weakness (of Xi) or a sign of his strength. I lean towards the insecurity aspect.”said June Teufel Dreyer, an expert on Chinese politics at the University of Miami.
Xi departs from precedent by removing powerful officials appointed by him and further transforming the entire Communist Party “into Xi’s faction,” said Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at the University’s School of Oriental and African Studies. From london.
Very little information has been offered about the fate of Li and Qin. The latter was dismissed in July amid speculation that would have violated an unspoken code of ethics that is often used to cover up internal disputes.
Li, appointed defense minister during a cabinet reshuffle in March, was sent to Moscow to bolster China’s support for Russia. He has not been seen since he gave a speech on August 29.
There is no indication that the disappearance of Qin and Li indicates a change in foreign or defense policy. China is forming alliances in opposition to the liberal democratic world order led by the United States and its allies.
Xi has a reputation for valuing loyalty above all else and has relentlessly attacked corruption in public and private, in what some see as a way to eliminate political rivals and bolster his own position amid the deteriorating economy and growing tensions the United States over trade, technology and Taiwan.
The Chinese political and legal systems remain opaque, leading to major arguments over corruption, personal whims or clashes between top officials that lead to their downfall.
The ruling party finds it difficult to revive an economy strongly impacted by draconian “zero COVID” measures, the aging of the population, high unemployment among holders of university degrees and the emigration of the richest and most educated sectors in search of of more liberal societies abroad.
Now that the call “Xi Jinping Thought” has been enshrined in the party constitution and presidential term limits have been abolished, Xi has structured the system in such a way that he can remain in power for the rest of his life.
The 70-year-old leader heads the party and state committees that oversee the People’s Liberation Army, the largest military force in the world, with 2 million active troops.
(With information from AP)