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  4. After abrupt ouster of Qin Gang as foreign minister, China erases all mentions of his tenure from website

After abrupt ouster of Qin Gang as foreign minister, China erases all mentions of his tenure from website

According to observers of Chinese politics, the erasure of information related to Qin's activities can help the media create an image of the Communist Party's determination against wrongdoings by officials.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee Beijing Published on: July 26, 2023 13:35 IST
Former Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang
Image Source : AP Former Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang

In a curious case, the abrupt removal of Qin Gang as Chinese foreign minister has been followed by the complete erasure of all activities during his near six-month tenure, including his recent meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, from the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

China's top legislature convened a session on Tuesday where it replaced Qin with his predecessor Wang Yi, who held the position for almost a decade before being promoted to President Xi Jinping's top foreign policy aide. This came after weeks of speculation following Qin's sudden disappearance from the public from June 25.

Hashtags on social media concerning Qin were censored by the popular Chinese app Weibo, CNN reported. One of the hashtags tried to evade censors by focusing on a television show based on China's ancient Qin dynasty. Only posts from verified accounts, state media or government agencies showed hashtags about Wang's appointment.

“It is likely that the official media outlets will propagate the idea that the top leadership is wise in removing a senior official who had been trusted and henceforth was found making mistakes,” said Li Mingjiang, a professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Chinese media can also attempt to show the Communist Party's determination in taking strict disciplinary action against senior officials found in wrongdoings, Li added.

It remains unclear whether further information will be released about Qin's removal and actions against him. Observers of Chinese politics cite political reasons for his erasure from the ministry website, which will become clear once an official investigation against the ex-foreign minister is announced. His removal is said to have brought Chinese politics into global limelight.

Qin's alleged extramarital affair

Qin, once considered a close aide of President Xi, was known for skewering one-liners and punchlines wrapped in metaphors to defend the government. However, some Taiwanese, as well as Western media, reported about his alleged "extramarital affairs" with a renowned Hong Kong TV personality Fu Xiaotian.

As a TV anchor at Phoenix TV HK, Xiaotian interviewed top international personalities. Recently, she had interviewed Qin where the duo's "gesture" during the conversation was a little bit different or said to be "suspicious". She also disappeared from public view along with Qin. 

As per Asia Sentinel, the 40-year-old Fu is suspected to be a double agent and has links with British intelligence. Although she is married, there are not many details about her husband. In fact, there were reports that claimed Qin was her child’s father.

It was not the first time when the country's prominent people went missing abruptly. Recently, billionaire Jack Ma also disappeared and reappeared after criticising Xi Jinping, while tennis player Peng Shuai briefly disappeared after accusing retired Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault.

ALSO READ | Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who went missing amid rumours of 'extramarital affair', fired: Report

ALSO READ | Chinese FM Qin Gang goes missing amid rumours of 'extramarital affair' with TV journalist: Reports

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