The disappearance of China’s defence minister raises big questions
- Officials selected by Xi Jinping are going down. What does that say about his judgment?
An ability to groom talented officials, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, once said, “largely determines the rise and fall, as well as the survival or demise" of political parties and countries. After a sweeping reshuffle of ministerial posts in March, the government’s main news agency, Xinhua, recalled Mr Xi’s words in an article aimed at showing how meticulous the selection process had been. Since late June, however, two of the most senior officials who were promoted in that shake-up have disappeared: first Qin Gang, the former foreign minister, and more recently General Li Shangfu, the defence minister. The swiftness of their apparent downfalls has been striking. The questions they raise about China’s politics are big.