General Li Shangfu, a veteran of China’s military modernisation drive, rose through the ranks to become defence minister this year. Within six months, he disappeared under the cloud of a corruptionprobe.
Li grew to prominence under President Xi Jinping’s pursuit of military might during his decade in power while China’s relations with the United States soured over issues including Taiwan, the democratically governed island that Beijing claims.
But part of Xi’s drive to improve his fighting force has been to stamp out corruption that has long plagued China’s military and other state institutions.
A leader China’s space and cyber warfare development and then head of military procurement, Li, 65, was elevated to defence minister in March.
After he disappeared from public view last month and missed meetings, including with at least once foreign counterpart, Reuters reported on Friday that Li was under investigation in a broad probe over procurement of military equipment.