Xi Jinping’s Absence Puts Communist Party Off Script – NYTimes.com

Where is Xi?

Planned years in advance, the 18th Party Congress is slated to be the most sweeping government reorganization in a decade, with scores of leaders scheduled to retire. It was still expected to take place next month or soon after in Beijing, where Mr. Xi was to take over as leader from Hu Jintao. The Communist Party has numerous factions, but the overall framework of the transfer was thought to have been mostly ironed out over the past year.

But recent developments, including Mr. Xi’s mysterious cancellation of several public appearances, suggest that may not be the case.

The most obvious sign of discord is that the dates for the congress have not been set. Most political experts here expected it to be held in mid-October, but without an official announcement, some are predicting it will be delayed.

via Xi Jinping’s Absence Puts Communist Party Off Script – NYTimes.com.


7 thoughts on “Xi Jinping’s Absence Puts Communist Party Off Script – NYTimes.com”

  1. Can you imagine how US citizens would react to something like this if our president-elect went AWOL? I find it incredibly fascinating that someone in China can’t even look up his name on the internet to try and attain more information on the subject. I would not be surprised if China has an uprising at some point in the future. Clearly communism is not really working there. It’s a pretty big problem when citizens are kept purposefully uninformed and out of the loop. It shows that their political leaders are fearful of their citizens getting ahold of too much information. I am interested to see what will happen when the Chinese people finally realize what’s going on.


  2. As the Economist stated, “China is not only a nuclear-armed superpower today but also an economic and industrial behemoth. Simple questions about the condition and the whereabouts of a top leader deserve to be taken seriously.” Chinese officials refused to state if Xi Jingping was “fit and well”, nor would they admit any political tension going on within the government. This left the public wondering if Xi Jinping was being sidelined during the political transition process of him being promoted to general secretary of the Communist Party. As of the 15th, Jinping ended his two-week absence in Beijing when he visited the campus of the China Agricultural University.
    No press releases have been given to explain his absence which leaves the public to speculate.

    Source : http://www.economist.com/blogs/analects/2012/09/rumours-around-politburo

  3. I have now read The New York Times, The Economist, and Yahoo! news, all of which have reported on the sudden absence of Mr. Xi Jinping, and am honestly quite curious as to why such none news is big news. I was under the impressions that the news as a whole was away of informing, not speculating, guessing, or reporting non information.


    1. Good question, asaclem (real name?). This is important news because key issues–rifts with Japan, possible weakening internal civil control, or other unknown troubles could be facing the Chinese leadership. When a key leader disappears, an uncommon occurence without some reporting, it matters. Don’t forget, China is a key global power. What would happen if Mitt Romney won the election in November but then disappeared sometime in the weeks before innauguration day. (Not exactly the same thing, get the idea?) Concerns over stability and a peaceful transition are underlying this discussion.

      No explanation was given for his absence, which is unusual for Chinese leaders, whose activities are chronicled daily in the state-run news media. In the past two weeks, Mr. Xi canceled meetings with severalforeign dignitaries, while government spokesmen deflected questions about him.

      Beijing-based analysts said that Mr. Xi was nursing an ailment — a heart problem and a sore back were the two most widely discussed possibilities — but that he was also dealing with political challenges that forced him out of sight.

      Those challenges include deep rifts in the party over personnel and policies. Mr. Xi’s ascension to president is to be announced at a party congress expected to be held in just weeks. But no date has been set for it, a sign, analysts say, that the party is divided over many critical issues. via http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/world/asia/xi-jinping-returns-amid-tumult-in-china.html

  4. The intrigue in Chinese politics is spotlighted in this story, and the return of Xi Jinping on Saturday only adds to the interest and discussion. As annielynnellis commented, the complex party politics of Chinese government appears alien through our Western political lenses.
    The NYT article reporting on Xi’s return (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/world/asia/xi-jinping-returns-amid-tumult-in-china.html) suggests that there is more to Xi’s absence and return than an official recovering from an illness.
    The importance and controversy of Xi as the new Party leader, has also been heightened by the visit of U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to discuss the deployment of an advanced missile defense system in East Asia. With the U.S. taking a pro-Japanese side amidst the territorial disputes between China and Japan, Xi is already having to prove his leadership and political maneuvering skills. As many articles have speculated, if Xi does not take a firm stance against the U.S.’s further military influence in the region then Hu Jintao may be able to keep his position as head of China’s military (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/18/world/asia/u-s-and-japan-agree-on-missile-defense-system.html). This could be detrimental for Xi’s consolidation of power or it could be a beneficial outcome for a leader who may not be up for the job.
    The take home message of my rambling response: when it comes to Chinese politics you should always act like a teenage-girlfriend and read into every event and comment, because there’s a whole show behind the headline.

  5. This is an interesting time for China. They have come forward as a world economic power and they have done so while maintaining a communists state – they are one of the few (if not only) country to do so. (It’s amazing when you contrast it with other current communist states like North Korea). As China has progressed, we have seen an interesting phenomenon. There is a push and pull between the Chinese governmental power and the power of the people. With the introduction of the internet the common man in China is empowered with information. The communist parties in China have tried tireless to monitor information, but it’s next to impossible in this day and age. Google has been banned. You cannot search Tianamen Square. China is an interesting place, indeed. It’s interesting to juxtapose the current situation with China and Japan fighting over Senkaku (http://www.voanews.com/content/japan-china-island-dispute-rooted-in-domestic-challenges-nationalist-grievances/1493779.html) – what a wonderfully contrived time for a burst of nationalism to distract from the missing Mr. Xi. It’s also been interesting to see the contrast between Chinese governmental procedure and that the formerly democratic state of Hong Kong – people have protested everything from school curriculum to communism itself. This push and pull will continue and if history has told us anything the people generally come out on top.

  6. Hearing how China is hiding the reasons behind Jinping’s absence reminds me of Putin flying the plane leading cranes on their migratory journey. (http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/09/06/putin-leads-young-siberian-cranes-in-flight/) This was essentially a PR stunt to show Russia how manly and interesting their leader is. In the same light, if Jinping was sick, suffered some medical problem, or had anything similar happen to him, the state controlled media might not publicize it so that he doesn’t come across as weak in any way, especially just months before he is expected to take over as leader of the country. They might be trying to preserve his image so that he may appeal to the masses as a good, strong leader.

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