The disappearance of China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang from public view for over three weeks has ignited intense speculation about his whereabouts, once again bringing attention to China’s penchant for secrecy. His last reported engagements were on June 25, after which he seemingly vanished without explanation.

Qin Gang’s Mysterious Disappearance

This is not the first instance of Qin’s mysterious absence. Previously, he had disappeared for eight days during the Lunar New Year Holiday. Despite a brief comment about his health on July 11, the Ministry has refused to provide any further information. His last public appearance was captured by state media when Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko visited Beijing less than 48 hours after the Wagner mercenary group’s failed rebellion against Moscow. Since then, Qin has been conspicuously missing, even during major high-profile events.

One significant development during his absence was his replacement as the head of Beijing’s delegation to the ASEAN summit in Indonesia. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin attributed this change to “health reasons,” without offering any specifics.

Furthermore, the postponement of a visit by the European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, added to the mystery surrounding Qin’s situation. A senior EU official cited the delay, and it remains uncertain whether Borrell would meet Qin as initially planned.

Qin gang
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang holds a book of China’s Constitution at a news conference on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China March 7, 2023. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Despite almost a month since his disappearance, no clarity on Qin’s whereabouts has emerged. Interestingly, discussions about his absence have reportedly been censored on the Chinese social media site Weibo. Searches for “where is Qin Gang” on the platform yield a message of “no results.”

The online search trends indicate a surge in curiosity, with searches for “Qin Gang” on the Baidu search engine increasing 28-fold in the past week, averaging over 380,000 searches per day.

Qin Gang’s absence has cast a spotlight on the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which governs the world’s second-largest economy. The lack of transparency surrounding the foreign minister’s situation has raised eyebrows globally. Deng Yuwen, a former editor of a Communist Party newspaper who now resides in the US, told CNN that considering China’s status and influence in the world, it is indeed peculiar for its foreign minister to be absent from public view for more than 20 days.

Adding fuel to the speculation, rumors have surfaced about Qin having an affair with journalist Fu Xiaotian. However, a foreign ministry spokesperson responded on July 17, stating that they had no knowledge of such a matter. It’s worth noting that China’s ruling Communist Party strictly prohibits cadres from engaging in extramarital relationships, and affairs have often been cited when charging senior officials with corruption.

Nevertheless, in a previous instance, former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli appeared at a leadership congress shortly after a scandal involving a purported decade-long affair.

In conclusion, the disappearance of China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang has captivated the attention of the world, with concerns raised about the transparency and accountability of the Chinese leadership. Despite the multitude of speculations, the exact reason for Qin’s absence remains shrouded in secrecy. As the world waits for an official explanation, the case continues to be a subject of intrigue and debate. The situation sheds light on the delicate balance between governmental privacy and public accountability, especially for a nation with such global significance as China. Only time will reveal the truth behind Qin Gang’s mysterious disappearance from public view.

China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s unexplained disappearance for over three weeks has sparked global speculation and highlighted China’s secrecy. Despite brief comments about his health, the Ministry has withheld further information. Censorship of discussions on social media and a surge in online searches intensify the mystery. The lack of transparency surrounding a high-ranking official raises concerns about China’s leadership accountability. Speculations about an alleged affair have been denied by the foreign ministry. The world awaits an official explanation while pondering the delicate balance between privacy and public scrutiny in a major global power.

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