News / Asia

In China, Still No Word on VP Xi

China's Vice President Xi Jinping speaks with Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi (not pictured) during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing August 29, 2012.
China's Vice President Xi Jinping speaks with Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi (not pictured) during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing August 29, 2012.
VOA News
Chinese officials and state media remained silent Wednesday on the status of the country's leader-in-waiting, Xi Jinping, as rumors continued to swirl regarding his 11-day absence from public life.

At a regular press briefing, China's Foreign Ministry again refused to provide any details on the Chinese vice president, who was expected in just a few weeks to be named the country's top leader for the next decade. Spokesperson Hong Lei deflected several reporters' questions about Xi, saying he had no information.

​Xi has not appeared at a number of meetings with foreign visitors during the past week, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He was last seen in public on September 1 at the opening of the fall semester of the Beijing Communist Party school.

Xi Jinping

  • Named president on March 14, 2013
  • Named secretary-general of Communist Party and head of China's Central Military Commission November 15, 2012
  • Vice president from 2008-2013
  • Joined the Communist Party of China in 1974
  • Born in Fuping, Shaanxi Province in 1953
  • Son of revolutionary hero Xi Zhongxun, who fell out with Chairman Mao Zedong and was imprisoned for years before being politically rehabilitated
  • Married to Chinese folk singer Peng Liyuan
Official silence on the matter has fueled speculation about Xi's health. The most commonly repeated rumors suggest the 59-year-old suffered a mild stroke, heart attack, or back injury. But other more far-fetched rumors suggest he was the target of an assassination attempt by political foes.

While many observers point out that the speculation is unsubstantiated, they say the episode reveals the government's crumbling sense of credibility among Chinese citizens and foreign media.

Joseph Cheng, a political science professor at City University in Hong Kong, said the Communist Party's time-tested record of keeping the health conditions of its leaders a state secret may be hurting more than it is helping.

"This certainly reveals a lack of a sense of accountability to the domestic population and to the international community," he said. "I'm sure many foreign ministry officials understand that this secrecy may in fact backfire and may generate unhealthy and unnecessary speculation, but I'm afraid that they simply cannot or dare not persuade top leaders to change their positions."

But Cheng says there is no evidence to suggest the incident will affect the Communist Party's tightly-controlled leadership transfer that is expected to begin in the coming weeks with a Communist Party Congress.

"We have detected no signs that there will be serious leadership changes before the 18th Party Congress," he said. "Chinese leaders in the past five years or so have been working hard to prepare for a predictable succession process, and they certainly would like to keep it that way. "

Meanwhile, rumors continue to fly in China, both on the street and on the country's heavily censored microblogs. Jeremy Goldkorn, the editor of Danwei.com - a website about Chinese media and Internet - says Beijing's team of web censors are working overtime to squash the rumors.

"As is the practice, they're being scraped quite thoroughly. So it's quite hard to find any of these rumors on the Chinese Internet," he said. "The name of Xi Jinping, I think right now is still a blocked search term on Sina Weibo, the big Twitter-like service, and so is backache. So they're doing a pretty good job of keeping it clean."

Beijing continues to downplay the importance of Xi's public absence, while questions remain regarding the future leadership of the world's second largest economy.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bob from: Beijing
September 12, 2012 8:59 AM
Yes,I indeed could not find any info about Xi Jinping on Sina Weibo,China twitter-like site, the content about our new future president is seriously censored .

In Response

by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
September 18, 2012 3:18 PM
In most countries, there is procedure or protocol which would be followed if a senior government official is absent from his job it has to be officially documented and publicized to the entire country, if not the entire world. Not so in China, I guess. If China wants to follow internationally established practice, it should do the same.

In Response

by: Anonymous
September 13, 2012 4:10 AM
Vice-president Xi Jinping is on the way to DIAOYU Island by a submarine to claim sovereignty. He will declare "DIAOYU Island belongs to China forever!" on behalf of Chinese people on DIAOYU Island.

In Response

by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
September 12, 2012 2:09 PM
Is this a matter of state secrets or internal affairs not to be interfered or sovereignty?

In Response

by: alen from: beijing
September 12, 2012 11:18 AM
i fell so strange that it in this keypoint where he is

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid