The Qin Gang soap opera
Qin gone! But where? And more importantly, why?
Days after China abruptly canned its foreign minister, replacing him with the previous dude, Qin Gang is still missing. We don't know whether he's been locked up in a secret prison, just been told to lay low for a while, or is simply working on his tan on a Hainan beach.
The brief statement announcing Qin’s removal has done anything but end speculation over what caused his fall from Xi Jinping's grace. Chinese netizens are obsessing about the sparks flying in an interview with Fu Xiaotian (recently pulled from YouTube), a US-based TV correspondent with whom Qin was reportedly having a fling. If you go further down the conspiracy gossip rabbit hole, the journalist might have been a former spook — perhaps even a double agent to fund her lavish lifestyle — or First Lady Peng Liyuan ordered the purge because she's close to Qin's wife.
Regardless, the ruling Communist Party hates when its internal affairs get so much public attention. (Remember when Xi cracked down on the CCP rumor mill ahead of the 20th Party Congress.) On cue, the Foreign Ministry has scrubbed Qin from its website and pushed back against all "malicious hype."
We probably will never know what actually happened with Qin Gang, but please let China watchers have some fun with the most exciting CCP drama since the Bo Xilai scandals almost a decade ago.