By Yungdung Tsomo
DHARAMSALA, 2 Aug: Chinese President Xi Jinping started to cleanse China’s elite forces on the pretext of cracking down on corruption by replacing two highest-ranking generals with two others who have nothing to do with Rocket Force.
Xi Jinping, chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), presented certificates of order to promote the commander of the rocket force Wang Houbin and its political commissar Xu Xisheng to the rank of general on Monday, read a commentary on Chinese state-run Xinhua.
The development came at a time when General Li Yuchao, commander of PLA’s Army Rocket Force and his deputy general Liu Guangbin have been reported missing from the public view.
Wang Houbin, the newly appointed commander of the rocket force has been serving PLA since 2020 as a deputy commander while Xu Xisheng the newly promoted general was a political commissar.
The speculation surrounding the disappearance of Li and Liu ranges from leaking military secrets to corruption charges as China has not commented on their whereabouts.
According to Reuters, Xi’s decision to appoint two men, who have nothing to do with Rocket Force, is aimed to disrupt the network of loyalty and corruption that has formed under the previous leaders.
While China’s former deputy commander of the Rocket Army Wu Guohua died on 4 July, his death, however, has accumulated a wide range of speculations online suggesting sudden cerebral haemorrhage and suicide at home, Taiwan’s Central News Agency and the Sing Tao Daily’s US edition both reported that Wu’s death had been described as suicide by his former boss Zhang Xiaoyang citing a now-deleted social media post by him that said Wu had “hanged himself due to heavy work-related pressure and family conflict.”
According to multiple reports in Chinese state-run media, on 26 July, Xi made an inspection of the air force of Western theatre in Chengdu and declared that the Anti-corruption drive continues in advance and depth.