China has witnessed the sudden disappearance of a high-ranking government official, this time the Minister of Defense, General Li Shanfu, according to Sarbaz.kz citing Reuters.
According to Reuters sources closely related to the Chinese military, this disappearance is linked to investigations into military equipment procurement deals. The details of these transactions are currently undisclosed.
Additionally, it's reported that as part of this investigation, eight high-ranking officials responsible for military procurements in the Chinese military, led by General Li from 2017 to 2022, are under scrutiny. The investigation into General Li is being conducted by a military disciplinary inspection commission with extensive powers.
General Li Shanfu has not been seen at public events for the past three weeks, and he has not met with foreign officials, raising concerns given his high-ranking position and status. He was last seen on August 29 in Beijing during a security forum attended by representatives from African countries. In August, he made official visits to Russia and Belarus.
Among the canceled events involving China's Defense Minister are meetings with the Singaporean Navy command and an official visit to Vietnam. The Vietnamese side cited health issues as the reason for the cancellation of General Li's visit.
The leadership of the People's Republic of China (PRC) has chosen not to comment on the disappearance of their Defense Minister. When asked about General Li Shanfu's whereabouts, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson stated that she was not in possession of information regarding this situation. It's worth noting that similar disappearances of key officials have been observed in China before. Earlier this year, China's Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, disappeared from the public eye and was subsequently removed from his position, although the reasons for this decision were not officially announced.
According to the Wall Street Journal, General Li Shanfu has also been relieved of his duties, but this has not been officially confirmed at this time.