Qin Gang 秦刚 is a Chinese diplomat and politician who has been serving as minister of foreign affairs of China since December 2022. He is China’s second-highest diplomat after Wang Yi, director of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee Foreign Affairs Commission Office. It might be interesting for folks not familiar with Chinese party politics to know that Wang Yi, who is the foreign policy chief for the Chinese Communist Party, ranks above Qin, who as the foreign minister is the government’s foreign policy chief.
Qin was appointed the Minister of Foreign Affairs of China on December 30, 2022, only months after he became deputy foreign minister. A relatively well-liked character when he was China’s ambassador to the US, the speed of his promotion shows the Chinese government’s urgency in promoting him further to the much hated Wang Yi’s position in order to tone down America’s animosity towards China. However, things seemed to have taken a drastic turn. Did Xi Jinping suddenly have a change of mind and decide to get tough with America?
Qin Gang was last seen in public on 25 June in Beijing after meeting officials from Sri Lanka, Russia and Vietnam. China’s foreign ministry has said he will not attend the ASEAN meet on Thursday due to “health reasons” and top diplomat Wang Yi would represent the country in his place.
What health reasons? The foreign affairs department revealed that Qin Gang had Covid. This immediately brought a storm of incredulity among Chinese citizens. Why? Because the government had never reported on any of its high ranking officials of being down with Covid. They were desperate for an excuse and it has been almost a month now. On the day the foreign affairs department announced that Qin Gang contracted Covid, his subordinate, former foreign affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian’s wife made a very happy announcement that she’s making a comeback to social media. This almost confirms that Qin Gang is in trouble.
Enter the female protagonist, Phoenix Satellite TV host, Fu Xiaotian. Astute netizens dug up her Weibo postings and found this one. Nobody knew that Fu was ever married, but she posted a photo of her son in March.
In that posting dated 19 March 2023, she wished her baby’s father happy birthday and lamented that her son’s father was so busy on a mission that he couldn’t celebrate his own birthday with them. Qin Gang’s birthday is indeed 19 March. Bingo! Let the tongues wag.
“State Councillor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang cannot attend this ASEAN ministerial meeting because of health reasons,” spokesman Wang Wenbin said without elaborating. According to informants inside Phoenix Satellite TV, Qin Gang has indeed been unceremoniously removed from his post. The reason has been the subject of much speculation. The hottest rumour out there is that Qin Gang is under investigation for inappropriate relationship with a journalist from Phoenix Satellite TV. While the censors did try to block rumours on social media, it is almost laughable to think that a high ranking Chinese official would get into trouble for extramarital affairs. There must be some other reason, but first, let us take a closer look at the woman with whom he is allegedly having an affair.
Fu Xiaotian was born in Chongqing. She studied in China’s Southwest University affiliated middle school and later graduated from Peking University where she obtained two bachelor’s degrees, one in English Language and Literature and another in Economics.
After going overseas, she graduated from the University of Cambridge with a master’s degree in 2008. After returning to China to experience the excitement of China’s first Olympic Games, Fu Xiaotian returned to the UK and was planning to live there indefinitely. At that time, Phoenix Satellite TV’s London office was recruiting staff. She passed the assessment and started an internship.
As Phoenix Satellite TV’s London correspondent, Fu Xiaotian has shown the courage to innovate and has a strong ability to work independently. The channel grew in popularity, gaining recognition in the UK with the domestic audience.
When civil war broke out in Libya in 2011, Xiaotian volunteered to report on the battlefield in Libya. With great courage, she accomplished her task and gained deep respect among her peers. Fu Xiaotian was known for her comprehensive and objective reporting and her in-depth and incisive analysis.
Fu Xiaotian is not known to be married, but she had shown pictures of her baby and mentioned her baby’s father in passing. Interestingly, her last Weibo posting was on 10 April 2023. She mentioned that she would not be hosting her show 风云对话 anymore. She also mentioned her baby’s name – Er-Kin. Could the child be Qin Gang’s? She went silent after that and now, Qin Gang has disappeared.
The sexiest theory for now is this: Fu Xiaotian is a spy working for the West and Qin Gang is currently under investigation for any leak of Chinese state secrets. Everyone seems to know that having affairs is never a problem for high ranking Chinese officials. It only becomes a problem when there’s some other problem – just as in the case of corruption. It’s never a problem until that official’s loyalty is in doubt. What about Qin Gang? Why didn’t they just find him guilty of bribery? There has to be something more to it. It’s unlikely we’ll ever know the truth.
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