Qin — considered a rising star of Chinese politics — has not been seen in public for a month, sparking rumors of scandal and political frictions.
Wang Yi back as foreign minister
China’s Global Times news portal said the country’s top legislature convened a session on Tuesday where it was decided that Qin would be removed from his position as foreign minister.
Wang Yi, Qin’s predecessor, has again been appointed as foreign minister.
Qin, 57, who became one of China’s youngest foreign ministers when he took up the post in December 2022 after a stint as envoy to the United States, has not been seen in public since June 25, when he met with visiting officials from Sri Lanka, Russia and Vietnam.
Qin since vanished from state media and comments about him have been excised from readouts of foreign ministry briefings.
His ministry later said he was off work for unspecified health reasons, but the lack of detailed information fuelled a swirl of speculation.
His 23-day absence has seen Qin skip major diplomatic engagements, such as an international gathering of foreign ministers in Indonesia last week.
The vacuum of information around Qin’s health status comes as China faces growing scrutiny over its lack of transparency.
The world’s second largest economy has limited access to corporate data, court documents, academic journals and raided expert networks serving businesses, hampering investors’ ability to assess the economy.
China is also notoriously guarded about the health status of its officials, meaning Qin could simply be sick.
President Xi was the last member of the G20 leaders to reveal his vaccination status during the Covid-19 pandemic, not making the information public until July 2022.
Extended absences have foreshadowed the end of a career before in China.
Xiao Yaqing, former minister of industry and information technology, vanished from government readouts and official media coverage for 21 days last year, before it was announced he’d been put under investigation by the country’s top anti-graft agency.
(With inputs from agencies)
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