The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Tuesday quoted Chinese sources who claimed to have solved the mystery of Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s disappearance.
According to these sources, the genocidal regime of dictator Xi Jinping stripped Qin of his title and made him “disappear” because he had an embarrassing extramarital affair — and his mistress gave birth to a child in the United States.
According to the WSJ’s sources, senior Chinese officials were secretly briefed on the real story behind Qin’s disappearance while the Foreign Ministry lied to the world and claimed he was recuperating from health issues.
Qin’s real problem turned out to be “lifestyle issues,” which is generally taken as a euphemism for sexual misconduct in the Chinese Communist Party. Two of the WSJ’s sources said Party officials were told Qin “engaged in an extramarital affair that led to the birth of a child in the U.S.” The name of Qin’s mistress and child were not disclosed, and the WSJ was unable to identify them.
Qin is allegedly cooperating with the Chinese government’s investigation, which has shifted focus to whether his affair “compromised China’s national security.”
Although he is no longer active as foreign minister, he remains listed as one of China’s five powerful State Councilors. The Chinese government would not answer questions about his current status.
Asked about the WSJ report at a press conference Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning replied, “On the appointment and removal of the Chinese foreign minister, the Chinese side has released information before, and I am not aware of the other information you mentioned.”
Qin was the shortest-serving foreign minister in Communist Chinese history, holding the post for only seven months before he disappeared. A month after he vanished, on June 25, he was replaced by his predecessor Wang Yi and all mention of Qin was scrubbed from the Foreign Ministry website.
This clumsy transition suggested big trouble was brewing in the Chinese Communist Party. Qin’s disappearance was a profound embarrassment for Beijing, since he held the most outward-facing job in the regime and he was once a celebrated protege of dictator Xi Jinping.
China is no stranger to political purges, but a high-level position such as Qin’s is not usually handled so awkwardly. Qin was never even formally sacked as foreign minister; the regime simply announced his replacement — the same man who held the job before Qin took it seven months previously — without mentioning the ousted minister.
Bloomberg News noted Qin was relatively moderate on relations with the Western world and might have annoyed Xi by publicly stating China would have tried to stop Russia from invading Ukraine if it had been fully informed about Moscow’s war plans.
“He showed a flair for public relations, embracing American culture by openly attending a baseball game and riding in a Tesla Inc. with Elon Musk,” Bloomberg recalled.
Others pointed to the recent disappearances of several other high-ranking officials, most recently including Defense Minister Li Shangfu, and wondered if Xi is making another big push against corruption in his government — a problem that seems to persist no matter how many high-profile anti-corruption purges the dictator launches.
France24 argued that Xi and his underlings are usually outspoken about anti-corruption purges, whereas Qin was vanished and sacked with frantic speed and obfuscation. This suggests Qin’s downfall was more of a personal embarrassment to the dictator, perhaps because of the still-concealed details of his purported affair.
China expert Marc Lanteigne of the Arctic University of Norway said the Chinese military has been riddled with corruption for decades, so the disappearances of Li Shangfu and other senior commanders are easier to understand than the Qin saga. He speculated that China’s government was rattled more than it wanted to admit by the massive protests against Xi’s coronavirus lockdowns in November 2022, and by the failure of the Chinese economy to rebound as expected after the lockdowns ended.
“It really calls into question the control Xi Jinping has on his inner circle and his ability to pick the right person,” Lanteigne said.