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China dismisses three top defense executives from top politics

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China has removed three executives of military state-owned enterprises from its top political advisory body, signaling that President Xi Jinping will strengthen control over the military.

The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a government advisory body under the ruling Communist Party of China, has disqualified Liu Shiquan, chairman of weapons manufacturing company China North Industrial Group, Wu Yansheng, chairman of China Aerospace Technology Corporation, and chairman of China Aerospace Technology Corporation. According to state media, company executive Wang Changqing said:

President Xi launched a sweeping overhaul of China’s military this year as the United States and its allies increasingly oppose China’s military claims to Taiwan and disputed territory in the South China Sea.

In October, nearly two months after Li Shangfu disappeared from public life, the Chinese government formally removed him from his post as defense minister and cabinet member. The Financial Times previously reported that U.S. officials believe Mr. Li is being investigated on corruption charges.

Mr. Li is the second cabinet minister to be dismissed this year, after Mr. Xi’s former foreign minister, Qin Gang, took a month-long leave from official duties and was replaced by his predecessor, Wang Yi, in July.

The dismissal of Mr. Liu, Mr. Wu, and Mr. Wang from the CPC comes about six months after several senior officials from the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force, which oversees the country’s nuclear and conventional missile arsenals, disappeared. Foreign experts and intelligence officials told the FT at the time that the appointments were part of a crackdown on corruption and strengthening Communist Party discipline.

No further details were released about the fate of the three state-owned company executives. In China, such formal dismissals have traditionally been announced before detentions or investigations into corruption.

Many foreign analysts interpret the military crackdown as the latest sign that Mr. Xi will consolidate political power and centralize control of the military, an extension of Mr. It is a characteristic of power.

Alex Payette, CEO of Celsius Group, a consulting firm that tracks China’s elite politics, said that as security tensions with the U.S. escalate, fixing corruption in the military procurement system is not just for Xi Jinping. , which is also critical to the PLA’s combat readiness.

At least 70 senior executives have been removed from their jobs, gone missing, or both as a result of the crackdown, according to data collected by Celsius. Payette predicted that the campaign would extend into 2024, with an increased focus on military supply chains.

“We are not only talking about embezzlement of funds and receiving kickbacks from military-affiliated state-owned enterprises, but also about declining quality control standards, resulting in substandard weapons and military equipment being sent to the People’s Liberation Army. “It may be purchased and used by,” Payette said.

Mr. Xi has also drawn heavily from the military-industrial base into party leadership recruitment as part of a multiyear effort to strengthen “civil-military fusion” (a policy of harnessing cutting-edge technologies from the private sector for the nation’s benefit). are withdrawing funds. The military of a rapidly modernizing country.

Mr. Xi, widely considered China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, issued a new warning to Taiwan on Tuesday to commemorate the former leader’s 130th birthday.

The Chinese government claims the country, which will hold a presidential election on January 13, as part of its territory, and Mr Xi has ruled out using force to seize control of the country. do not have.

President Xi said, “The realization of complete reunification of China is in line with the trends of the times, the will of the Chinese people, and the interests of the entire Chinese nation.” “China must and will definitely be unified.”

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