China’s Missing Ex-Foreign Minister Qin Gang Steps Down From Rubber-Stamp Parliament

Mr. Qin is still absent from public view.
China’s Missing Ex-Foreign Minister Qin Gang Steps Down From Rubber-Stamp Parliament
Former China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang (2nd R) and China's Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian (R) attend a meeting with Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo at the Diamond Hotel in Metro Manila on April 22, 2023. (Gerard Carreon/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Qin Gang, China’s former foreign minister, has resigned from the country’s rubber-stamp parliament nearly eight months after he disappeared from public view.

In a formal statement issued on Tuesday, Beijing said Mr. Qin has stepped down from its rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC). The top body of Tianjin Municipal NPC has accepted his resignation as a deputy, it added.

The statement, published on state media Xinhua, didn’t mention why Mr. Qin resigned from his post.

Mr. Qin is still absent from public view. He was last seen in the media on June 25, 2023, when he welcomed visiting diplomats from Russia, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. His ministry previously cited “health reasons” for Mr. Qin’s absence from the gathering of foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Indonesia last July.

For nearly eight months, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) didn’t offer any explanations for Mr. Qin’s ouster, a decision that state media announced in a one-line statement in July 2023.

Mr. Qin became the Chinese regime’s shortest-serving foreign minister with only seven months in office.

The regime’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, was reappointed as foreign minister.

Mr. Qin was dismissed as state councilor last October.
Currently, he is still a member of the CCP’s Central Committee, one of the Party’s decision-making bodies.

Rumors Swirl

The sudden departure of Mr. Qin, who was once considered a trusted aide of CCP leader Xi Jinping, sparked speculation about political infighting within the Party’s elites. It was followed by a slew of unexplained disappearances and replacements of the regime’s senior officials, including Xi’s handpicked defense minister and two generals in the command overseeing China’s nuclear arsenal.
Beijing’s silence has fueled speculation, with one widely circulated rumor suggesting that Mr. Qin’s removal may be linked to an extramarital affair with Chinese television anchor Fu Xiaotian. Last September, the Financial Times, citing unnamed sources, reported that they had a son in the United States with the help of a surrogate mother.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the CCP was investigating whether his affair, which lasted during his tenure as ambassador to the United States, might have infringed on China’s national security, citing individuals familiar with a briefing.

Some political analysts dismissed that speculation in previous interviews with The Epoch Times, saying that extramarital relationships are often used as a pretext for the Party elites to take down rivals. Instead, they pointed to political missteps and power struggles, especially top diplomat Wang Yi’s dissatisfaction with Mr. Qin’s work.

Some of The Epoch Times’ sources linked Mr. Qin’s downfall to the leak of military secrets.

Tuesday’s announcement comes as nearly 3,000 carefully-picked NPC delegates prepare to gather in Beijing for the annual meetings.

Although the political events were carefully orchestrated with decisions pre-approved by Party leadership, outside observers glean insights into the regime’s policy priorities, particularly amid a deepening economic downturn.

Beijing is expected to reveal its budget for public and military spending and its target for annual economic growth during the sessions, which are set to kick off on March 5.