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China chooses former navy chief as new defense minister – POLITICO

China chose former navy chief Dong Jun as its new defense minister on Friday, about four months after the last occupant of the post disappeared.

Chinese state media reported the move Friday, citing a decision by the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress.

Dong Jun, who is leaving the leadership of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, is a former vice commander of the Southern Theater Command, which patrols the disputed South China Sea – a key potential flashpoint between China, Taiwan and the West.

The appointment is the latest twist in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s purge of key positions in the country’s top-secret political system.

Former Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu disappeared in August after his ministry abruptly canceled a planned September visit to Vietnam citing “health concerns.” Two months after his unexplained disappearance, he was dismissed from his position without further details on his fate or a possible replacement.

China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang was also fired in July – a month after his disappearance – and just six months after becoming a minister. China’s top diplomat and Politburo member, Wang Yi, replaced him in July, and Beijing scrubbed all traces of Qin from the Foreign Ministry website within hours of the reshuffle.

On Friday, the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress also announced that it had displaced Civil Affairs Minister Tang Dengjie and replaced him with Lu Zhiyuan, according to Chinese state media. The Minister of Culture and Tourism, Hu Heping, was also dismissed in favor of Sun Yeli.


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