A sweeping purge of Chinese generals has weakened the People's Liberation Army, exposing deep-rooted corruption that could take more time to fix and slow Chinese leader Xi Jinping's military modernization drive amid geopolitical tensions, analysts say.

China's top lawmakers ousted nine senior military officers from the national legislative body on Friday, state media reported, a step that typically precedes further punishment for wayward cadres. Many of these were from the Rocket Force — a key arm of the PLA overseeing tactical and nuclear missiles.

The purges are a setback for Xi, who has pumped billions into buying and developing equipment as part of his modernizing efforts to build a "world-class" military by 2050, with Beijing's outsized defense budget growing at a faster pace than the economy for some years.