Home Politics Monitor Vanishing Act: Chinese Foreign Minister’s Mystery
Politics Monitor

Vanishing Act: Chinese Foreign Minister’s Mystery

His disappearance helps fuel rumors he is having an affair with one of China’s most prominent television journalists.

Doubts are growing over the fate of Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who has not been seen in public for more than three weeks. This is an extremely unusual absence for such an important figure in the Beijing regime, especially since during this period the head of diplomacy missed several important meetings and events. His disappearance also contributes to fueling rumors of an affair he would have with Fu Xiaotian, one of the most prominent journalists on Chinese television, which has also vanished.

Qin Gang, 53, last publicly appeared on June 25, when he met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rybkov in Beijing. Since then, China has reported no further meetings or phone calls from him, despite having held them almost daily since his appointment as foreign minister in December last year.

Earlier this month, China also postponed a planned meeting of the minister with the head of European diplomacy, Joseph Borrell. An EU spokesman said Beijing had informed Brussels that the scheduled date for the meeting “was no longer available”, just two days before Josep Borrell’s arrival date. Qin Gang was also absent from the summit of foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which was held last week in Indonesia. China has not provided an explanation for this absence.

Asked about Qin Gang’s whereabouts at the Foreign Ministry’s daily press briefing in Beijing on Sunday, the ministry spokeswoman said she had no “information” to provide on the matter, but stressed that China’s diplomatic activities were proceeding as usual. During a new briefing on Monday morning, the spokeswoman claimed that the minister was absent from the summit in Indonesia “for medical reasons”. CNN noted, however, that those details were not included in the official transcript of the briefing posted on the ministry’s website, an omission that may have been due to the sensitivity of the information.

The disappearance of senior officials or other eminent personalities in China, however, is not a rare phenomenon. In the past, there have already been several similar cases, with the authorities often revealing after several months that the missing persons were suspected of crimes. A phenomenon that has further increased as part of a campaign launched by President Xi against public corruption.

One of the most notable cases is that of then-Interpol president Meng Hongwei, who disappeared in 2018 while visiting his native country. Later, we learned that he had been arrested on suspicion of having accepted bribes. He was subsequently sentenced to 13.5 years in prison. In another widely publicized case in 2021, the Feng Shui tennis player – one of China’s biggest sports stars – disappeared after an article was published in which she accused the Chinese vice premier of having her sexually assaulted. Two weeks later, she reappeared, saying she was fine and recanting her accusations.

This article is originally published on i24news.tv

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