As first reported by the Wall Street Journal on September 15th, Chinese defense minister Li Shangfu has disappeared out of nowhere like other Chinese leaders.
After not being seen for months, a US intelligence asset has reported Li was removed from his post serving as defense minister and is under intense questioning from Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders. Like others who have gone missing, this happened without a trace. Of those who have gone missing as of late, only one has returned to the public eye in any way.
Qin Gang, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, worked closely with resident Xi Jinping and even served as the CCP ambassador to the US from 2018 to 2022. In late 2022 he was promoted to a foreign minister position. Russian, Vietnamese, and Sri Lankan diplomats met with Qin in Beijing back on June 25. After that meeting, Qin disappeared and was listed as out of action due to illness. His underling Wang Yi stepped up in his place and attended meetings for him.
Then after a week of being out of talks, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee announced he was out, and provided no reasoning for the change. Instead, they ignored it and played up headlines and articles about Xi and his passion for sports and his athletic abilities.
Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, raided questions about this via X (aka Twitter) on September 7th. “President Xi’s cabinet lineup is now resembling Agatha Christie’s novel ‘And Then There Were None.’ First, Foreign Minister Qin Gang goes missing, then the Rocket Force commanders go missing, and now Defense Minister Li Shangfu hasn’t been seen in public for two weeks.”
Chinese billionaire executives and others have also gone missing in this time as well and in much the same manner. One day everything is fine, then gone the next. Those who have come back came back very differently and are often much less critical of Xi or anything the party does. If anything, the party suddenly becomes the number one thing to them after these disappearances.