A group of high-ranking officials in the Chinese military, including generals and an admiral, were suddenly removed from the country’s Communist Party-run legislature without any explanation. This led experts to believe that President Xi Jinping’s campaign to root out corruption and other misconduct in the military has been gaining momentum and is focused on the politically sensitive sectors responsible for developing weapons and military installations. The crackdown has been conducted quietly, indicating Mr. Xi’s determination to assert his control over the arms sector.

The dismissed officers were mostly allies of President Xi, suggesting a targeted crackdown that excludes those close to him, at least for now. While the purge caused speculation about whether it will tarnish Mr. Xi’s invulnerability, it also shows that he retains control despite China’s economic woes. The move is expected to slow down the rollout of new weapons or facilities, as they are carefully examined for potential problems.

There is uncertainty about whether the scrutiny has extended to officials whom Mr. Xi appointed to the top leadership team. It seems that President Xi’s hold on “detrimental material” against the military and party-government officials gives him the power to move against anyone at any time. Despite this, there are indications that top officials, including General Zhang, can survive.


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