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HomeChinaQin Gang’s absence may reflect Xi’s weakening grip on the CCP

Qin Gang’s absence may reflect Xi’s weakening grip on the CCP


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The absence from the public eye for almost a month of Foreign Minister Qin Gang of the People’s Republic of China has given rise to speculation that he has been cashiered for having an extra-marital relationship with a Chinese television anchor who often travelled abroad. Other theories mention the possibility of blackmail of the Foreign Minister by a “hostile power” i.e. the United States. A third claims that the fast-promoted Qin has fallen foul of CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping. The degree of opacity in the higher circles of the CCP resembles a bottle of black ink, hence such theories remain just that, hypotheses as to why Qin has been missing for almost a month.

That he has landed in disgrace because of a romantic liaison with an attractive television presenter is contrary to the fact that this relationship almost since it began must have been well known to not just the CCP General Secretary, but to lesser authorities as well. As envoy to the US, he would have been under 24/7 surveillance, and knowledge of any love affair, assuming that he had one, would have been known to CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping. The fact is that in less than 18 months, Qin was promoted from envoy to the US to being the Foreign Minister of China. The missing diplomat is part of the relatively younger group (most in their 40s or 50s) that has been collected around him by Xi Jinping. Each member of this inner circle of the CCP Supremo would be aware not just that his (there would probably not be a woman within the group) swift ascent was because of Xi’s patronage, but that were Xi Jinping to fall, not just the job but very likely the freedom and maybe in some cases the life of the Xi acolyte would immediately be severely impacted. That Qin Gang became a hidden dissident while he was within the trusted inner circle of assistants of Xi is implausible. Only a confirmed loyalist of Xi would have been sent to the most sensitive posting outside China for any PRC diplomat, the PRC embassy in Washington. As for the young lady, had she been regarded as even a bit unreliable from the regime’s point of view, she would not have been made an important news anchor by Phoenix television. Phoenix, although technically not state-controlled, is in effect very much a part of the Agitation & Propaganda wing of the CCP’s United Front. Just as in the case of Qin, the presumed lady friend’s loyalty to the regime would have been examined under a microscope and judged to be fool-proof.

Were there any doubts about her reliability, Qin Gang’s rumoured affair with the anchor would have speedily ended with her being sent out in disgrace, and at the least an admonition to Qin to stay away from anyone less than fully reliable as a regime supporter.

Did the Chinese FM reveal “secrets” to the anchor? Under Xi Jinping, the level of secrecy expected by those in the inner circle is even more than was ever the case earlier. Anything personal about Xi Jinping, for example, would be out of bounds to reveal to anyone, even what the General Secretary had for breakfast. Did Qin Gang break the 24/7 Code of Omerta (silence and secrecy) expected of him by just revealing not matters of state, but personal matters relating to the uppermost levels of the CCP? We do not know, and probably never will. As for falling prey to CIA lures, that again appears improbable, as only an individual of tested loyalty would have been sent to Washington and later given what may be the swiftest promotion in the Chinese diplomatic service, made Foreign Minister.

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