There is much hue and cry in Western media regarding the unusual disappearance of Chinese defence minister Li Shangfu, who had not been spotted in any official meeting or public gathering over the past many days.
The reports suggest that Mr. Li appeared at a security conference in Beijing days before and his longtime scheduled meeting with the Vietnamese Defense Chief had abruptly been postponed by the Chinese government, due to some health condition, that had not been confirmed by other sources. Li’s disappearance appears to be grave because several unusual occurrences have been reported in Chinese leadership in recent days.
Before, Li’s Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang was replaced over unexplained reasons in similar mysterious situations along with an unceremonial shake-up of the top Commander of the PLA’s elite Rocket Force that gave birth to suspicions and rumours in international media. There is complete silence in the Chinese government and mainstream media regarding worldwide suspensions and doubts about the health and well-being of top Chinese executives.
The Western capitals link those top-level changes in Beijing with policy differences and governance issues within a limited and close circle of powerful Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Analysts term such occurrences customary in authoritarian regimes like China, Russia, North Korea, and Belarus where heads of the government avail complete impunity from the public as well as media accountability.
Today’s democracy is not more diverse, accountable and lenient in practical terms as it has been described in literature, fiction and films. After reaching powerful offices, all elected leaders somehow became dictators, and authoritarian and cooled shoulder toward public demands, and colleagues’ aspirations. With a few exceptions, a majority of the world leaders from Niksen to Trump, Castro to Zelenskyy, Jamal Nasir to Saddam Hussein and many more, all elected leaders solely rule respective nations according to their self-assumed agenda, swapped their aides with eyebrow arch and enjoyed unlimited power and fame in the name of democracy.
Therefore, the fiasco of poor Li is not much different from the rest of the world except it is linked to the West’s rival, hence largely covered in global media.