Is Xi Jinping seriously ill?

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His absence from the G20 summit in India raises questions: Is Xi Jinping seriously ill? The media suggests so, but there are reasons to doubt it.

This is a summit that will likely go down in the history books: last weekend, the heads of state and government of the G20, the group of 20 most important industrialized and emerging countries, met in New Delhi. Chancellor Olaf Scholz then spoke of a “new coexistence between North and South”, and this extremely heterogeneous group of states was even able to agree on a joint final declaration. But two heads of state were missing when history was made in the Indian capital: Russian President Vladimir Putin, ostracized by the West due to the war of aggression against Ukraine. – And China Head of state and party Xi Jinping.

Last Friday, Xi Jinping visited a military unit in Harbin, northern China. However, the Chinese head of state and party did not attend the G20 summit the next day. © Li Gang/Xinhua/Imago

We already knew a few days before that Xi Jinping would not go to New Delhi. On the Monday before the summit, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had Beijing explains that the Prime Minister Li Qiang “at the invitation of the Indian government” would go to New Delhi in place of Xi. However, the ministry did not explain why Xi skipped the meeting in the first place. Speculation is therefore rife at the moment. Many suspect political reasons. But there are also other rumors: Is Xi Jinping seriously ill and therefore unable to travel to India?

Regardless, several German media outlets recently unearthed reports from last year that Xi Jinping was suffering from a potentially fatal brain aneurysm. Such pathological dilatation of the vessels may burst suddenly and thus be life-threatening, or it may have no lasting effect. It is also possible that affected people may develop speech, vision or hearing problems. Indian news agency ANI reported on the suspected illness in 2022, and several newspapers picked up the information at the time. Xi was said to be hospitalized in late 2021 due to an aneurysm – but he refused to have surgery. Instead, Xi “relies on traditional Chinese medicine,” according to ANI. However, the agency has not provided any evidence to support these claims.

Xi Jinping appears in good health

Overall, Xi Jinping currently appears in good health: On Friday, the head of state, who is also commander-in-chief of the People’s Liberation Army, visited a military unit in northern China. In photos published by state media on Sunday, the 70-year-old looked as fit as many other men his age.

The current ones are powered Speculation on Xi Jinping in particular because of his participation in the Brics summit in South Africa The end of August. Xi did indeed visit Johannesburg as planned. However, the Chinese head of state canceled his speech at the Brics economic forum, which was scheduled for August 22; Instead, he unexpectedly sent Commerce Minister Wang Wentao. To the astonishment of many observers, China’s Foreign Ministry said Xi had delivered the speech. It remains unclear why Xi did not run himself – especially since it was mainly China that pushed for the expansion of the Brics to include six additional states decided in Johannesburg. The next day, Xi again attended several meetings.

Chinese state media are generally very cautious about reporting the health or whereabouts of the country’s leaders. Photos like those of Chancellor Olaf Scholz wearing an eye patch are unlikely to be seen by China’s top politicians. The meetings that Xi Jinping went to are often only reported several days late. By then, Xi is usually already back in Beijing.

Xi Jinping not at G20 summit – still a big success for Modi

In September 2012, shortly before his ascension to China’s highest political office, Xi went into hiding for two weeks. Even then, there was no official explanation for the incident. And when Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang suddenly disappeared without a trace in the middle of this year, it was initially announced, after several weeks of radio silence, that Qin had had to cancel his appointments “for health reasons”. However, Qin was later removed from office without any explanation. It is unclear where Qin currently resides.

There could be many reasons for Xi Jinping’s absence from the G20 summit in New Delhi. SO China has been engaged in an unresolved conflict with India over their shared border for decades.. Furthermore, is it India Part of the Quad group, a loose military alliance that also includes Australia, Japan and the United States – states that are currently anything but friendly towards China. Beijing is also angered that India has granted exile to the Dalai Lama since he fled Tibet in 1959. Observers say Xi may also be angry that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held the G20 summit in person – while in July it only hosted the heads of state of the Beijing-created Shanghai Cooperation Organization at the summit virtually.

If Xi’s goal was to humiliate Modi by his absence, it is unlikely he would have succeeded. The Indian Prime Minister hailed the summit as a great success – for himself and for his country.

Rosemary Rowse

"Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Web maven. Infuriatingly humble creator. Typical tv specialist. Music aficionado. Proud explorer."

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