China's president-in-waiting Xi Jinping has disappeared from public view for more than 10 days less than a month before the Communist Party congress chooses the country's next leader. The rumor mill is spinning out of control, with whispers that he suffers from heart problems or may even have resigned.
Xi canceled meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sept. 5 and with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt on Monday, but the Chinese Foreign Ministry gave no convincing excuse, which is unprecedented in Chinese diplomacy, which places high priority on protocol.
The Chinese vice president's last appearance in public was a speech at a Communist Party school on Sept. 1. The international press speculates that Xi is either suffering from health problems or China's transfer of power has encountered a hitch.
Hong Kong's Apple Daily on Tuesday reported rumors that Xi has either fallen gravely ill or quit after caving into pressure following a rift within the Communist Party over the transfer of power.
The New York Times and other media report that Xi is experiencing minor health problems but that there are no major issues with the power transfer.