Some unusual reshuffling and possible purges of military-related officers, including a missing defence minister, are adding to the turmoil within the People’s Liberation Army, China’s military.

While President Xi Jinping’s intentions remain unclear, on-the-ground dissatisfaction is picking up.

Amid the disquiet, Chi Haotian, a 94-year-old retired general, helped to convey a message to Xi and other Chinese Communist Party leaders about a dire situation facing the military.

Chi, according to sources, played his part at last month’s Beidaihe get-together by not saying a single word. He sat silently next to former Vice President Zeng Qinghong, another party elder, letting his silence amplify what Zeng had to say about the country’s deteriorating situation.


The retired military heavyweight’s presence made it impossible for Xi to ignore Zeng’s advice. Xi waited until after the meeting to let his anger show, venting in front of his close aides, according to sources familiar with China’s inter.