On September 8, 2023, Sanlih E-Television (Taiwan) aired a report stating that there are unconfirmed allegations that Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu may be under investigation for serious corruption charges. The report compared his disappearance to the recent disappearance and subsequent dismissal of Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang (see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1716).
Newscaster: "In the past, China’s Defense Minister Li Shangfu was frequently in the limelight, but now there are rumors that he has mysteriously disappeared.
"Internet users have speculated on social media platforms that Li Shangfu is under investigation for serious corruption allegations. Although the news has not been confirmed.
"Li Shangfu, being a high-ranking official in China, has visited Russia twice in the past and met with Putin. Moreover, due to his role in coordinating Russia’s military resources, he became the first Defense Minister in history to be sanctioned by the United States."
Newscaster 2: "State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu delivered a keynote speech at the plenary session of the Forum. He said China is willing to work with Africa to carry forward traditional friendship and deepen security cooperation."
Newscaster 1: "Li Shangfu just attended the China-Africa Peace and Security Forum. Unexpectedly, in less than two weeks, there were rumors of his sudden disappearance due to suspected corruption. Such an important figure in Chinese politics facing this type of sudden rumors, one can’t help but think of him:"
Li Shangfu: "If the Taiwan issue is not handled well, the ground in the U.S.-China relationship will be shaken. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is not just a boy scout with a red-tasseled spear."
Newscaster 1: "No matter which department he worked in, he always spoke bluntly. At the end of July this year, China's former Foreign Minister Qin Gang was suddenly dismissed, becoming China’s shortest-serving Foreign Minister."
Reporter: "Is he the subject of a corruption probe?"
Newscaster 1: "Everyone’s questions revolved around Qin Gang. Now, there are again rumors of a high-ranking Chinese official suspected of misconduct being dealt with by the Chinese authorities. This could potentially be another ticking time bomb for Xi Jinping's regime."