The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) has removed three senior aerospace and defence leaders. The targeted individuals include Liu Shiquan, chair of China North Industries Group; Wu Yansheng, chair of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation; and Wang Changqing, deputy manager of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (Casic).

The CPPCC, a government advisory body comprising Chinese Communist Party (CCP) delegates and industry representatives, did not provide official explanations for the removals.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Liu Shiquan was arrested in September, along with other aerospace-defence executives. This aligns with Xi Jinping’s military shake-up, which saw the removal of China’s defence minister Li Shangfu in October after just seven months in the post. Li is under investigation, but the specific focus remains unclear, and he has not been seen publicly since late August.

The recent wave of removals extends beyond political figures to include senior leaders in the People’s Liberation Army, particularly within the rocket force responsible for overseeing China’s nuclear arsenal. In August, two senior leaders in the rocket force were replaced, with analysts speculating that this move aimed to disrupt patronage networks formed under the ousted leaders.

Analysts believe that these actions are connected to an investigation initiated by the equipment procurement department of the central military commission in July. The investigation focuses on the formation of “small circles to control the bid evaluation process” and abuses of power within the military procurement system. Notably, Li Shangfu previously headed the equipment procurement department.

Sources cited by Sing Tao Daily claim that Liu Shiquan, Wu Yansheng, and Wang Changqing were involved in the rocket force investigation. Corruption within the equipment procurement process is a significant concern for China’s leaders, particularly as it could impact Xi Jinping’s goal of achieving technological readiness to annex Taiwan by 2027, a target identified by US intelligence.

A recent report from the Royal United Services Institute suggests that the “maximum period of risk” for China attempting to blockade Taiwan or territories in the South China Sea is likely between 2026 and 2028. The report indicates that by this time, Chinese military capabilities would be sufficiently advanced, and the US might not have adequate responses prepared.

The rocket force’s scrutiny is amplified by leaked and officially published US intelligence The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) has removed three senior aerospace and defence leaders. revealing a comprehensive understanding of its structure and capabilities.

Pentagon reports earlier this year indicated that China had successfully conducted a flight test in February of an intermediate-range ballistic missile with a “high probability” of being able to penetrate US missile defence systems.