Qin Gang, the Chinese foreign minister, has disappeared from the political scene since June 25, 2023. He is said to be absent for “health reasons”. At least that’s what the government ended up announcing, without giving further explanation.
What happened to Qin Gang? It has now been almost a month since the Chinese foreign minister has reappeared in public. The head of diplomacy has not been seen since June 25, 2023 when he had to honor important appointments, reports The Guardian.
Absent for “health reasons”
The meeting with Josep Borrell, the head of diplomacy of the European Union, was thus canceled by the Chinese government at the beginning of July. A former ambassador to Washington considered a protege of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Qin Gang had a role to play with American diplomacy. Last week, however, it was not he who met US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Jakarta but Wang Yi, the main foreign affairs official within the Chinese Communist Party.
The minister was also not present at the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on July 11, 2023. Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin justified this absence by “health reasons”, before announcing Friday July 14 that he had no more information to give on the subject. In office since December 2022, Qin Gang would however have exchanges every two days with his foreign interlocutors, according to information from the Financial Times.
Xi Jinping had disappeared
What is this absence from the Chinese political and public scene due to? For some, it would be directly linked to the relationship that the minister would have with a presenter from the Phoenix TV channel, who would also be the mother of his child. However, many assumptions are discarded. On the country’s social networks, such as Weibo, all conversations related to the absence of Qin Gang are indeed censored.
It is not uncommon for notables or political leaders to disappear in China. It is usually a sign of disgrace sometimes accompanied by legal disputes. But not always: in 2012, the current Chinese President Xi Jinping disappeared for two weeks without giving an explanation. He finally reappeared and resumed his post as if nothing had happened.
This article is originally published on ouest-france.fr