The rule of Chinese President Xi Jinping came under spotlight after wild rumours of him being placed "under house arrest" circulated on the social media platform Twitter, where dozens claimed that 'Xi has lost control' and has been placed under house arrest by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) after he was not seen in the public upon his return from the SCO summit in Uzbekistan recently.
Death sentence to ministers:
The rumours of the military coup comes after China handed over suspended death sentences to two ex-ministers and life sentences to four other top officials allegedly part of a "political clique".
What sparked the rumours?
New York-based Chinese, Jennifer Zeng, took to Twitter by sharing videos of what she claimed were PLA vehicles that were heading toward Beijing. She also raised speculation about Xi’s possible arrest and anti-Xi officials sentenced to death.
"#PLA military vehicles heading to #Beijing on Sep 22. Starting from Huanlai County near Beijing & ending in Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province, entire procession as long as 80 KM. Meanwhile, rumor has it that #XiJinping was under arrest after #CCP seniors removed him as head of PLA," she Tweeted.
However, these are just "rumours", claim experts, as there has been no official confirmation from the Chinese Communist Party, the Army, the state media or any other leader of the world.
China experts have also said there is no sign of a coup yet beyond the commentary on social media. Officials from China rubbished the rumours and termed them as "absurd". These were spread on Twitter by anonymous users, who are neither verified nor credible, a report said. There was also no corroborative reporting from any reputed international news outlet.
Columnist Gordon G Chang tweeted, “The lack of news from China over the last few hours suggest coup rumours are untrue, but whatever happened inside the Chinese military during the last three days tells us there is turbulence inside the senior CCP leadership. Indian officials refrained from making any comments on this issue.
PLA General Li Qiaoming replacing Xi Jinping?
Rumours also suggest that the General serving for PLA Li Qiaoming, and one of the members of the central committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), since Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao has replaced Xi as the President. Li Qiaoming is a general of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.
PLA General Li Qiaoming | Photo: Twitter Image
"New rumour to be checked out: Is Xi Jinping under house arrest in Beijing? When Xi was in Samarkand recently, the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party were supposed to have removed Xi from the Party’s in charge of the Army. Then House arrest followed. So goes the rumour," Indian politician and former Cabinet Minister Subramanian Swamy tweeted Saturday.
On Twitter, there were also unverified reports about no commercial flights flying over Beijing today.
Meanwhile, China.com reported, "Amid speculation about Xi Jinping being under house arrest, Beijing has cancelled over 9,000 flights across the country for unknown reason. Over 9,000 flights had been cancelled nationwide as of 10:35 pm on September 21, accounting for 59.66 per cent of those total scheduled journeys of the day."
Refuting the claims, Aadil Brar, writer and a columnist on India-China relations shared the images on social media saying "No flights are cancelled anywhere. Look at number of flights in and out of China."
(with sources and agency inputs)