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Gone in 7 months: China's 'missing' foreign minister removed from office

The former envoy will be replaced by his predecessor Wang Yi, state media reported

Qin Gang

Qin Gang was a chief proponent of China’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy photo: reuters

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China removed Qin Gang as foreign minister just seven months into the job, marking the shortest-ever tenure for the role after the ‘outspoken’ diplomat mysteriously disappeared from public view in June.

The former envoy will be replaced by his predecessor Wang Yi, state media reported, without giving an explanation for the abrupt personnel change. The nation’s top legislative body made the announcement at a snap meeting Tuesday, state media reported.

The move comes amid a foreign backlash against China's increasingly aggressive foreign policy, of which Qin was a chief proponent. While Qin’s removal ends speculation over his official status after he dropped from public view for a month, it does little to answer more fundamental questions about the reason for his absence or fate. 

China’s foreign ministry has declined to comment about Qin in recent weeks, after initially saying the former Chinese ambassador to the US was suffering from a “physical condition,” something it has never repeated. State media has avoided Qin’s name and references to him have been wiped from foreign ministry briefing readouts since his last public appearance on June 25.

“We have these occasional moments that remind us just how little we know about Chinese politics,” said Joseph Torigian, an assistant professor at the American University. 


Topics : China

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First Published: Jul 25 2023 | 11:12 PM IST

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