One More Chinese Official Goes Missing, This Time China’s Foreign Minister
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang has been absent from public view for an extended period of three weeks, leading to speculation about his whereabouts.
The Chinese government has attributed his absence to “health reasons,” a common explanation used in similar cases.
Qin Gang, a trusted aide to President Xi Jinping, took on the role of foreign minister in December 2022 after serving as ambassador to the United States.
During his tenure, Qin Gang has been critical of the United States as bilateral relations between the two countries have deteriorated.
One incident that strained relations was the citing and eventual downing of a suspected Chinese spy balloon.
In an effort to restore relations, Qin Gang met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during Blinken’s visit to Beijing last month.
The Chinese government has a history of senior officials disappearing from public view, often attributed to President Xi Jinping’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign within the Communist Party.
Qin Gang’s absence has raised concerns globally, particularly as it extends beyond the usual duration for such cases.
Qin Gang was last seen on June 25, and his whereabouts since then remain unknown. He did not attend high-profile visits by senior US officials Janet Yellen and John Kerry, and a scheduled meeting with the European Union foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell was postponed.
Other Chinese officials and businesspeople have gone missing in the past five years, including figures like Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, and Guo Wengui, a billionaire critical of the Chinese government.
Here are some Chinese officials and businesspeople who have gone missing in the last 5 years:
Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, disappeared from public view in October 2020. He resurfaced in January 2021, but his whereabouts and activities remain unknown.
Guo Wengui, a Chinese billionaire who has been critical of the Chinese government, went missing in New York City in October 2017. He resurfaced in Taiwan in January 2018.
Sun Dawu, a Chinese billionaire who is the founder of the Sun Group, disappeared in July 2019. He resurfaced in December 2019, but was later sentenced to 18 years in prison on charges of corruption.
Ren Zhiqiang, a former Communist Party official and outspoken critic of President Xi Jinping, went missing in March 2018. He was later sentenced to 18 years in prison on charges of corruption.
Zhang Zongchang, the former chairman of the China Huiyuan Juice Group, disappeared in December 2017. He has not been seen or heard from since.
These disappearances of these prominent figures have sparked international attention and raised questions about the transparency and accountability of the ruling Chinese government.