China Central Broadcasting Corporation (CCTV) reported on Tuesday that Li had been dismissed without explanation. This came after weeks of speculation about the fate of the general, who is under US sanctions, and has not appeared in public since the end of August. The decision to dismiss him was approved by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
Li and Chen were also removed from their posts of state advisers on Tuesday, a senior position in the Cabinet with a higher rank than ordinary ministers.
Unlike their counterparts in the West, Chinese foreign and defense ministers are primarily policy enforcers, not senior decision-makers.
It is not clear whether Li’s fall is a harbinger of further change in the military establishment, which is undergoing the most dramatic modernization process in Chinese history. Xi has set a goal for the People’s Liberation Army to become the world’s leading fighting force by 2049, which means reaching parity with the United States.
No replacement for Li has been announced.
More is coming …
“Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst.”