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Where's Xi Jinping? Chinese second-in-command has not been seen for 11 days

There is speculation that China’s heir apparent may be injured – but officials in China refuse to say what has happened to him.

Xi Jinping with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in February
Xi Jinping with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in February
Image: Maxwells/PA Wire

WHERE’S XI JINPING?

There is a growing mystery around the location of the man who is expected to be named the next leader of China’s ruling party in coming months, who has not been seen in public since 1 September.

There is speculation that Xi, who has not showed up at scheduled public events for eleven days, may be ill or injured but the Communist Party has refused to give any explanation for his absences.

He has missed meetings with a number of foreign dignitaries, including the prime minister of Denmark and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

China’s government is notoriously reluctant to give information about the health of its leaders, leading to much speculation.

The New York Times reports speculation by diplomats in China who say that he has a bad back, which may explain his absence.

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Xi is due to become the new leader of the Communist Party in a once-in-a-decade transfer of power in coming months.

He visited Ireland for three days in February of this year with a delegation of more than 150 Chinese business leaders and government officials in a bid to deepen bilateral relations.

During the trip he visited the Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle, a performance of Riverdance, and a dairy farm in Clare, where a newborn calf was named after him.

Read: 80 dead in China as premier visits earthquake zone >

Previously: Why do China’s leaders love visiting Shannon? >

About the author:

Christine Bohan

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