Shuffling in China’s ruling elite often remains shrouded in secrecy. However, armed forces of this country, have seen changes in key commanding figures.
“The Woken Dragon telegram-channel reports, that Wang Houbin, the former Deputy Commander of the Navy was named the head of the PLA Rocket Force (Nuclear Forces), while Xu Xisheng, the former Deputy Political Commissar of the South Area Command of the PLA made Deputy Commander/Political Commissar of the PLA Rocket Force. Before that reshuffling round, the two commanding posts were held by Li Yuchao and Liu Guangbin, which two officers, had long been missing from public spotlights.
Certainly, it appears not very much clear as to what really happened. There are not that many suppositions explaining what happened — at least, there were no references to secret mistresses and children born in affairs with them. However, South China Monitoring Post wrote that Li Yuchao was in custody on corruption charges, which accusation is a typical measure of repression of Chinese public servants. According to one of the versions, Yuchao’s son, who lives in the USA sold some secret PLA documents to the Americans.
Some sources put forward a supposition that the re-shuffling exercise in the Rocket Force was caused by a leakage of locations of some Rocket Force bases in autumn 2022. It was then, that one of the US think-tanks published a report with detailed descriptions of nine military installations of the PLA. The information leaked in media space shortly prior to the November 2022 meeting of Joe Biden and Xi Jinping. The probable mission of the publication of the said report was White House’s willingness to gain some strategic advantage prior to an important meetings – look, we know everything about you. So, where does that information come from? We can suppose, that those were Chinese military people who sold it to Americans. After the leakage, the PLA created a special “hot email”, to which those willing could submit the information regarding similar incidents since 2017. And, what is unravelling now might be a measure about that situation”.
Adil Kaukenov, prominent Kazakh Orientalist shared his observations, as follows:
“Communication with the “wrong people” caused dismissals of some commanders. In the article it was also written, that the PLA personnel were supposed to cleanse their circle of communication, so to avoid temptations and hazards …One common perception is that those dismissed had something to do with the leakage of secret information about locations of secret PLA bases. May be it was Li Shangfu’s tempting and hazardous friendship with “wrong people” that made him stay away from public spotlights for a long time”.