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China Quietly Fires Foreign Minister As Month-Long Disappearance Continues


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Philip Lenczycki Investigative Reporter
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The Chinese government quietly dismissed its minister of foreign affairs who has been missing from public for one month, CCTV News reported on Tuesday.

China’s National People’s Congress published a list of appointments and dismissals that replaced Qin Gang, the minister of foreign affairs, with his predecessor, Wang Yi, according to Chinese state-run media outlet CCTV News. Qin has been missing since June 25 when he met with diplomats from Russia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, Chinese state-run media outlet China Daily reported. (RELATED: House Committee Investigates US Firms With Investments Linked To China’s Military, Human Rights Abuses)

China experts, such as Steve Yates, senior fellow at America First Policy Institute and China Policy Initiative chair, believe that Qin was sacked after being caught in an alleged affair with Fu Xiaotian, a Phoenix TV journalist. Phoenix TV is allegedly owned by a former Chinese military officer, according to Freedom House, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit.

“Qin’s affair seems undeniable,” Yates told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “[General Secretary Xi Jinping] has a hair trigger with corruption charges, convictions and punishments. That so many high ranking CCP officials have been convicted, disappeared or worse on his watch is an embarrassment to Xi and not a sign of a healthy leadership culture.”

On July 21, 2023, Peter Dahlin, director of the European nonprofit, Safeguard Defenders, tweeted that he believes Qin is presumably under “discipline investigation,” which his nonprofit defines as “secret extra-legal detention” run by the Chinese Communist Party’s “private police force.”

Despite the rumors, Chinese government spokesman Wang Wenbin claimed that Qin’s absence was due to “health reasons” on July 11, Reuters reported.

Qin was appointed as China’s minister of foreign affairs after serving as China’s ambassador to the U.S. between July 2021 and January 2023. While serving as ambassador, Qin denied China’s arbitrary detention of millions of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang as “fabrications, lies and disinformation.”

Qin Gang with Phoenix TV journalist Fu Xiaotian. [Screenshot/YouTube/PhoenixTV]

Qin Gang with Phoenix TV journalist Fu Xiaotian. [Screenshot/YouTube/PhoenixTV]

In recent years, the Chinese government has “disappeared” an increasing number of high-profile Chinese businessmen and athletes.

In October 2020, Alibaba’s co-founder Jack Ma disappeared after criticizing the Chinese government and the nation’s economic development. Ma reappeared months later at an online conference, but has maintained a relatively low-profile since.

Similarly, Chinese women’s tennis star Peng Shuai vanished from the public eye in November 2021 after accusing former vice premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault. The next month, Peng Shuai reappeared and denied having ever made the accusations against the former vice premier.

“Given the Communist Party’s authoritarian structure and lack of transparency, we are unlikely to receive verifiable truth,” Yates told the DCNF.

The Chinese Embassy did not respond immediately to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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Philip Lenczycki

Daily Caller News Foundation investigative reporter, political journalist, and China watcher. Twitter: @LenczyckiPhilip