Written by Raphaël Degraeve
Edited by Michele Puggia
Supervised by Paul Dybjer
Since his last public appearance during a diplomatic meeting alongside Sri Lankan and Vietnamese foreign ministers in Beijing on 25 June, Qin Gang, the then Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, has vanished from the public eye (Le Monde, 2023). This unexpected turn of events has triggered a surge of inquiries within the global political landscape. Curiously, his disappearance has been followed by a sequence of intriguing developments, including his abrupt removal from the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs and the subsequent appointment of Wang Yi, his predecessor, as his replacement (Ng, 2023).
China’s response to the unfolding situation has been characterised by attempts to downplay the affair’s significance. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning addressed the matter during a routine press briefing in Beijing, dismissing the speculations surrounding Qin Gang’s absence as ‘malicious conjecture’ and asserting that pertinent information would be revealed in due course (France 24, 2023). Nevertheless, key details about Qin Gang’s current status and the rationale behind his dismissal from office remain ambiguous. Notably, a conspicuous omission of more than 20 queries concerning Qin Gang from the official press conference records has raised legitimate questions (Davidson, 2023).