China is the world’s second biggest economy, its rising superpower, and is on the cusp of a once-in-a-decade leadership change, but the man expected to take over at the head of the Communist Party has vanished from view, and we don’t know why. [BBC]
CHINA’S VICE PRESIDENT Xi Jinping has not been seen in public in 10 days.
Xi has been reported completely off the scene, with the alarm escalating when he skipped meetings with leaders that included U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Singapore’s PM Lee Hsien Loong.
Xi is now being cited today offering condolences for the death of a “revolutionary fighter,” though not directly quoted, but still not seen.
It’s another embarrassing situation for China, who has weathered Bo Xilai’s suspension and his wife’s conviction for the murder of Neil Haywood, the fleeing of dissident Chen Guangcheng, and most recently, the scandal of an ally of President Hu Jintao being demoted because of a deadly crash with a luxury sports car, also reported by Reuters.
From a report by John Garnaut, the Sydney Morning Herald‘s China correspondent:
The rumours have been amplified by the fact that the party has not yet set a date for the 18th Party Congress, which had been expected to take place in the middle of next month.
At the Congress, Mr Xi is expected to replace Hu Jintao at the helm of the Communist Party.
A close family friend of Mr Xi, however, told Fairfax this morning that the current Vice-President, deputy Communist Party chief and deputy chairman of the top military commission has no lasting problems.
“He’s fine, he’s fine, I can only say he is fine,” said the source, while hinting even that comment had breached the party’s regime of blanket secrecy.