New Delhi: There is still no sign of Qin Gang – China’s erstwhile foreign minister who has officially been replaced by Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, in a surprise reshuffle. But many questions remain unanswered.
There have been many Chinese celebrities, business people, and activists who have disappeared after speaking out about the Communist Party or powerful people. Let’s decode the stories of disappearances of China’s biggies.
China’s Foreign Minister abruptly replaced
After a mysterious disappearance from the public eye, Qin Gang has been replaced by his predecessor, Wang Yi, as China’s Foreign Minister. Gang, who took over the role seven months ago, had not been seen in public for several weeks.
The Chinese government has not given a reason for Gang’s removal, but there has been speculation that it may be linked to his recent criticism of the United States. In a speech in June, Gang accused the US of “economic bullying” and “political suppression” of China.
Gang’s disappearance has also raised concerns about the freedom of speech in China.
On the other hand, Wang Yi, who is returning to the role of Foreign Minister after a two-year hiatus, is a close confidant of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Jack Ma’s disappearance from China & his recent mysterious trip to Pakistan
Chinese billionaire Jack Ma made a surprise visit to Pakistan on June 29, sparking speculation about the purpose of his trip.
Ma, who is the co-founder of Alibaba Group, stayed in Lahore for 23 hours and avoided interaction with government officials and media people. He was accompanied by a delegation of seven businessmen, including five Chinese nationals, one Danish, and one US citizen.
The purpose of Ma’s visit is unknown, but it has been suggested that he may be interested in investing in Pakistan. The country is home to a large and growing population, and it has a young and tech-savvy workforce. Ma’s visit could be seen as a sign of confidence in Pakistan’s economy and its future.
However, Ma’s visit has also raised questions about his current status and whether he is still under scrutiny by the Chinese government. In 2020, Ma made a speech in which he criticized the Chinese government’s financial regulations. This speech led to a crackdown on Ma and his companies by the Chinese authorities. Ma disappeared from the public eye for several months, and his whereabouts were unknown.
Ma resurfaced in January 2021, but he has been much more cautious in his public statements since then.
Ma’s recent visit to Pakistan suggests that he may be trying to rebuild his reputation and reassert himself as a force in the Chinese business world. However, it is also possible that his visit was simply a private one, and that he was not trying to send any particular message.
Only time will tell what the true purpose of Ma’s visit to Pakistan was. However, his visit has certainly generated a lot of interest and speculation.
Peng Shuai: The missing Chinese tennis star
For the unaware, Peng Shuai is a former professional tennis player who reached No. 1 in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings in doubles in 2014 and No. 14 in singles in 2011. She won major championships at Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open in 2014, and reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open in 2014. In all, she won 23 WTA titles in doubles and two in singles. She also represented China at three Summer Olympics. Her career prize money is listed by the WTA as more than $9.5 million.
Peng last competed at a tournament in Doha, Qatar, in February 2020. However, she has been out of the public eye since November 2, 2021, when she posted a lengthy statement on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, accusing Zhang Gaoli, a former vice premier of China, of sexually assaulting her. The post was quickly deleted, and Peng was not seen or heard from publicly for several weeks.
There were widespread concerns for Peng’s safety, and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) called for an investigation into her allegations. The Chinese government initially denied that Peng was missing, but later acknowledged that she was “safe and sound” and living at home. However, there have been no independent confirmations of Peng’s whereabouts or condition.
In December 2021, the WTA suspended all tournaments in China, citing concerns about Peng’s safety and the lack of transparency from the Chinese government. The suspension has had a significant impact on the Chinese tennis industry, however, the WTA in April this year said it will resume operating tournaments in China.
The case of Peng Shuai is a reminder of the risks that Chinese citizens face if they speak out against the government.