After weeks of rumors spread by the media about his supposedly deteriorating health, Xi Jinping appeared in public for the first time on September 15th. But since then he has been all over the place.
But before that, the new head of China had cancelled a number of meetings with high-profile foreign dignitaries, including one with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which in turn caused various media sources to whip up a frenzy of rumors and speculation to fill the void of official information. Gossip mongers propelled rumors stating that Xi had suffered through a heart attack, a stroke, emergency cancer surgery and even an attempted assassination.
It was finally reported that Xi had injured his back while swimming, and he had been strictly following doctors’ orders to get bed rest and undergo physiotherapy. News of his reappearance spread like wildfire on China’s popular Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging site, where bloggers chose to refer to Xi as the “crown prince” to avoid censorship.
The Communist Party’s decision to withhold information on Xi’s disappearance from the public view and absence from scheduled events was not unprecedented. In fact, the Chinese have always been quiet when it comes to the health conditions of their top leaders. Be that as it may, many Chinese citizens were worried about Xi’s lasting absence, and the frenzy was strikingly apparent across the nation’s media outlets.
Now that he is back in the limelight, a lot of people are hoping he will stay there. If you ask us, there are enough secrets in today’s China without its leader being so secretive that it becomes scary.