Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who has not appeared publicly for a month, has been removed from office. According to Chinese state media, the Standing Committee of the People’s Congress voted in favor of the measure. President Xi Jinping then signed an order to implement the decision. Qin was only appointed foreign minister of the People’s Republic in December – after a steep career under head of state and party leader Xi. His long-time predecessor Wang Yi (69) is now to take over the post again. No reason for the step has yet been given.
Health reasons? An extramarital affair?
In recent weeks, there has been wild speculation about Qin Gang’s fate. The 57-year-old had his last public appointment in Beijing on June 25. He hasn’t been seen since then. Initially, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said when asked that Qin was unable to attend for health reasons. However, there was also speculation about a possible extramarital affair.
Diplomats cited the incident as an example of Beijing’s tight-lipped leadership and decision-making processes. In fact, disappearances of high officials, celebrities and businessmen in China are common. It often turns out later that they were involved in investigations or even controversies.
One of the most well-known cases in recent years is the former Chinese Interpol boss Meng Hongwei, who disappeared on a trip to China in 2018. Two years later, a court sentenced him to a long prison term for accepting bribes.
sti/uh (afp, dpa, rtr)