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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

China’s politics leave something for everyone to speculate over Qin’s removal as foreign minister

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(TibetanReview.net, Jul26’23) –Politics in China is entirely an affair of the party, especially its top leadership. And so, it is not for citizens to know how or why the country’s foreign minister has been abruptly removed from his post on Jul 25 in an emergency  move after he had remained disappeared for a full month.

And there is still no information on the removed minister, Mr Qing Gang’s current situation or whereabouts. More curiously, he continues to be a State Councilor,

China’s top legislature convened a session on Tuesday (Jul 25)  to review a draft criminal law amendment and a decision on official appointment and removal, reported China’s official globaltimes.cn Jul 25, giving the unusual move an appearance of being anything but special or emergency, though this was what it clearly was.

It then said “Qin Gang (57) has been removed of his position as Foreign Minister. Wang Yi (69) was appointed as the Chinese Foreign Minister. Tuesday’s decision has not touched on Qin’s title of State Councilor.”

And  the report gave a glowing account of Qin’s service in the Chinese Foreign Ministry since 1988, culminating in his appointment “as the Chinese Foreign Minister, according to a decision made by the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, on Dec 30, 2022.”

Qin Gang was one of the best-known faces of the Chinese government.

And yet, Chinese state media did not say why he was removed and China’s foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment, noted Reuters Jul 26. Xi signed a presidential order to make the decision effective, it cited state news agency Xinhua report as saying.

By Tuesday (Jull 25) evening, Qin’s profile had been scrubbed from the Foreign Ministry website, with the page where his portrait and welcome message had been earlier in the day replaced with a message saying “information being updated,” notes the edition.cnn.com Jul 25.

* * *

“The lack of an explanation opens more questions than provides answers,” the Reuters report quoted  Ja Ian Chong, a political scientist at the National University of Singapore, has said.

“It also underscores the opacity and unpredictability, even arbitrariness in the current political system.”

“Qin’s removal without explanation has left intact the rumors and speculation about his disappearance,” Dali Yang, a political science professor at the University of Chicago, has said.

Under Xi, this political opacity has only intensified as the leader cracked down on dissent and concentrated power in his own hands, while expanding Communist Party’s grip over the political establishment and society more broadly, noted the edition.cnn.com report.

The announcement that Qin had lost his job was massive news in China, but it was delivered, typically, without fanfare and with very little detail, noted the bbc.co.uk Jul 25.

Just a few sentences on Xinhua wire service – which were then read out on the main evening TV news bulletin – spelt the dramatic end of Mr Qin’s time as the global public face of China, only half a year after he had been appointed, the report said

One of the most surprising aspects of Qin Gang’s demise is that he was seen as having the clear backing of the country’s all-powerful leader, the report said.

* * *

Social media on Wednesday (Jul 26) was full of searches and speculation over his abrupt dismissal, noted bbc.on.uk Jul 26.

It is unusual for rumours about such a senior official to be discussed on the Chinese internet without complete censorship, observers say.

“The absence of censorship makes people wonder if there is any truth to rumours about power struggles, corruption, the abuse of power and positions, and romantic relationships,” Ian Chong had told the BBC last week.

This was reflected in the top search terms on Weibo which included queries about his wife and his alleged mistress, the report noted

* * *

Speculation have swirled on Chinese social media, saying Qin, reportedly a married man, had fathered a love child with Hong Kong TV presenter Fu Xiaotian, 40.

Xiaotian also disappeared from public view around the same time, Taiwan and Hong Kong newspapers highlighted, noted nypost.com  Jul 25, citing The Times UK.

Qin was the last leader she talked to on her show “Talk with World Leaders.”

Spectators were stated to have brought up their flirtatious nature in the March interview.

The pair’s body language had reportedly deviated from their usual professional behaviour and they made more eye contact than usual. As a result, all discussions on Weibo about the pair’s more relaxed behaviour were quickly censored, the report noted.

Also, Chinese Human Rights Activist, Lin Shengliang, has claimed that Xiaotian had posted a photo of her and her son with the caption: “A victorious closing,” which coincided with the day Gang was promoted to state councilor in March.


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