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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid