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Report: China’s Defense Minister has not appeared in public for at least two weeks

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Report: China’s Defense Minister has not appeared in public for at least two weeks

The current Minister of Defense of the People’s Republic of China has reportedly disappeared from the public eye for several weeks.

General Li Changfu — China’s defense minister appointed in March under President Xi Jinping — has not appeared in public since late last month.

Li was last seen on August 29 in Beijing, where he delivered a speech at the China-Africa Peace and Security Forum.

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Chinese Defense Minister Li Changfu

Chinese Defense Minister General Li Changfu delivers his speech on the final day of the 20th session of the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Shangri-La Dialogue, the annual Asian defense and security forum, in Singapore on June 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Vincent Thien)

International officials and analysts speculate whether the apparent disappearance is linked to Xi’s ongoing efforts to reform the Chinese Communist Party to consolidate his personal powers and eliminate corruption.

The US ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, joked last week that China’s National People’s Congress — rife with sudden disappearances and sudden, inexplicable changes — was beginning to resemble a murder mystery.

“President Xi’s cabinet lineup now resembles Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None,'” Emanuel said. “First, Foreign Minister Chen Gang disappeared, then the leaders of the missile force disappeared, and now Defense Minister Li Changfu has not appeared in public for two weeks.”

China deploys more than 40 aircraft in the Taiwan Strait and mobilizes its forces in coastal military bases (according to Taiwan warnings)

Rahm Emanuel in Japan

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel delivers a keynote address during the 53rd annual joint meeting of the Japan-Midwest American and Midwest-Japanese American Associations at a Tokyo hotel on Tuesday. (Kazuhiro Noji/AFP via Getty Images)

“Who will win this unemployment race? China’s youth or Xi’s government,” he asked. Emmanuel added.

Li was appointed to the Central Military Council in October last year as Xi entered his historic third term.

Following his appointment, he was promoted to his current position in March based on his experience in military modernization and aviation technologies.

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Xi Jinping in South Africa

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the 2023 BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, on August 23, 2023. (Gianluigi Guercia/Pool via AP)

The US Treasury previously imposed sanctions on Lee in 2018 when he was director of the Equipment Development Administration, which oversees military technology in the country.

The State Department said Lee was involved in purchasing Su-35 fighter jets and materials for S-400 surface-to-air missiles from a sanctioned Russian company.

Lee’s short time in office was marked by a more moderate military stance focusing on cooperation rather than competition.

Li Changfu

Chinese Defense Minister Li Changfu attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow on August 14, 2023. (Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

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In his first speech as defense minister, Li said a war between China and the United States would be an “unbearable disaster for the world,” and stressed the need for the two sides to improve relations that have “reached a record high.”

The comments came during the Shangri-La Dialogue, a gathering of some of the world’s top figures Defense officials In Singapore.

Fox News Digital has reached out to the State Department for comment on the situation but has not yet received a response.

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