A Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman said on Thursday that he had not been informed of the situation, in what was the first public comment on the minister’s disappearance from the public space in about a month.
Colonel Wu Qian, who heads the ministry’s information office, gave a one-sentence answer when asked at the monthly press conference whether Li Changfu was under investigation for corruption and whether he was still defense minister.
“I am not aware of the situation you are referring to,” Wu said in response to a question asked by a journalist from a foreign media outlet.
The minister was sworn in as defense minister when the new government took office in March and has not been seen in public since giving a speech on 29 August.
Li Changfu is the second senior governor to disappear this year, after former Foreign Minister Chen Gang, who was sacked in July.
The Chinese government did not give any reason for his dismissal or why they stopped making public appearances.
The unexplained disappearance of leaders and others is not uncommon in China, and often occurs months after the people involved have been criminally charged.
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