China Remains Tight-Lipped About ‘Missing’ Minister Qin Gang, Appoints Wang Yi As New Foreign Minister

China Remains Tight-Lipped About ‘Missing’ Minister Qin Gang, Appoints Wang Yi As New Foreign Minister

Qin Gang was last seen on June 25 in Beijing meeting officials from Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Russia.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, July 25, 2023, 08:02 PM IST
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Former Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang | File

Amid growing concern over Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang going ‘missing’ following a month-long absence from public duties, Beijing voted on Tuesday to appoint Wang Yi as the country’s new foreign minister. China continued to remain tight-lipped about Qin’s whereabouts with the country’s state news agency Xinhua News only stating that he was removed from the foreign minister post.

Qin was last seen in public on June 25 in Beijing meeting foreign ministers of Sri Lanka and Vietnam, and Russia’s deputy foreign minister. He also missed the ASEAN summit in Indonesia in early July triggering speculations over his absence, for which China said he had taken leave from work for health reasons. However, Beijing did not elaborate on what his health issues were.

Quick rise to diplomatic ranks

The 57-year-old was made China’s foreign minister in December 2022 after briefly serving as the country’s ambassador to the US. Qin’s quick rise to diplomatic ranks seemingly made him a close aide of President Xi.

However, Qin’s absence led to rumours of his extramarital affair with Hong Kong journalist and TV presenter Fu Xiaotian. The 40-year-old last tweeted on April 11, sharing images from her interview with world leaders. One of the images also showed her infant son.

Rumours of political rivalry

Qin’s disappearance has also been linked to his alleged political rivalry with Wang, who has served as China’s foreign minister before Qin. Upon Qin’s absence from public duties, Wang took up his responsibilities and was seen at the ASEAN summit early this month.

This is not the first time that high-profile Chinese personalities have disappeared from the public eye. In 2020, Alibaba founder Jack Ma went missing from the public view after criticizing the country’s financial regulatory system. However, after resurfacing, he has been seen in Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong.

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