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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid