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Updated January 31st, 2024 at 15:34 IST

China Expels Top Rocket Scientist in Expanding Military Purge

The removal of Wang Xiaojun highlights the intensified efforts to cleanse corruption within China’s military and aerospace sectors.

Sagar Kar
Chinese President Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping | Image:AP
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China has removed Wang Xiaojun, a leading rocket scientist, from its premier political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). This expulsion comes as part of a broader purge within the Chinese military’s missile force and aerospace industry.

Wang Xiaojun, 54, was ousted from the CPPCC just a year after his appointment, as per a report from CNN News. He had previously served as the head of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), a prestigious institution recognized as the birthplace of China’s aerospace industry.

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Here is what you need to know

CALT is known for its role in the development, testing, and production of missile weapons and launch vehicles. Wang, who dedicated nearly three decades to rocket design at CALT, played a significant role in advancing China’s capabilities in the aerospace sector.

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Wang's expulsion part of a larger pattern?

This expulsion follows a series of shakeups within China’s military-industrial complex. In December, three aerospace executives, including the chairman of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, were removed from their roles in the CPPCC. Additionally, nine high-ranking People’s Liberation Army officers, five of whom were associated with the Rocket Force overseeing the nation’s nuclear and ballistic missiles, were ousted from the top legislature.

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While no official reasons were provided for these expulsions, experts suggest a corruption purge is likely at play. This could be connected to the procurement and development of equipment for the Rocket Force, a secretive and financially lucrative sector that has been a focus of President Xi Jinping's efforts to modernize China’s military capabilities.

The removal of Wang Xiaojun highlights the intensified efforts to cleanse corruption within China’s military and aerospace sectors. Xi, throughout his career, has garnered a lot of support from the domestic population due to his crackdown on corruption. 

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Published January 31st, 2024 at 15:34 IST

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