Xi Jinping did not travel to the G20 summit. His absence could be related to tensions with the host country. There is also speculation about other causes.
China’s head of state Xi Jinping skipped the important G20 summit in India last weekend. Instead, the Chinese delegation was led by Prime Minister Li Qiang, the country’s number two. Experts said this was extremely unusual. It was the first time that a Chinese head of state stayed away from a G20 meeting.
But the G20 cancellation is not the first unusual sign from the Chinese ruler in recent weeks. There was also an incident at the Brics summit, which took place in South Africa in August: Xi was there, but canceled an important speech at short notice. His Trade Minister Wang Wentao read the text instead, which apparently took even the Chinese Foreign Ministry by surprise. Official sources said in social media posts that Xi himself gave the speech.
A political signal – or is Xi sick?
“Chinese heads of state never missed highly choreographed events,” said the China Global South Project’s reporting in light of the G20 cancellation. “To say, that [Xis Abwesenheit] “Extraordinary is an understatement”.
China expert Bill Bishop also told the British Guardian that there had been a long period in August without any public appearances from Xi, which was “a bit strange.” “This last-minute decision to skip the economic forum seems even stranger.”
But other rumors were also fueled again. Among other things, there was speculation that the Chinese head of state might not be doing well. Last year it was reported in the media that Xi was suffering from a life-threatening brain aneurysm. The Indian news agency ANI (Asian News International) even claimed at the time that Xi was therefore in the hospital at the end of 2021. According to Indian media reports, Xi seeks help with traditional Chinese medicine. He turned down surgery.
An aneurysm is the pathological expansion of blood vessels. These are also known as ticking time bombs in the body. Many people live their entire lives with a brain aneurysm without realizing it. However, if this ruptures, it often causes serious brain damage or even death to those affected. Surgery is extremely risky.
It is unclear whether the rumors are disinformation or even a smear campaign against the Chinese ruler. However, new theories have been coming up on social networks lately. For example, Xi has difficulty hearing or shuffles when he walks. The Chinese regime is reportedly trying to block searches about Xi’s health. Because while the Chancellor in Germany is walking around with an eye patch after a fall, the physical weaknesses of those in power in a dictatorship like in China can cause the entire system to falter.
Biden: “Xi has his hands full”
US President Joe Biden was apparently calm about Xi’s rejection despite the tense relationship between the two countries. He had exchanged ideas with his representative on the sidelines of the G20 summit. “I met with his number two (…) in India today,” Biden said of President Xi at a press conference in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi on Sunday.
“He has his hands full at the moment.” But he does not assume that China’s economic weakness will lead to the country invading Taiwan, Biden answered a question. “The opposite is the case, because China probably no longer has the same opportunities as it once did.”