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The curious case of the vanishing Chinese foreign minister

The disapearance of missing official Qin Gang and a high-profile journalist has all the makings of a Netflix miniseries – but his fate appears part of the brutal reality in Xi’s China, writes Michael Sheridan

Monday 31 July 2023 14:06 BST
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Qin Gang, vanished in June and was later officially ‘removed’ from office
Qin Gang, vanished in June and was later officially ‘removed’ from office (Getty Images)

The mysterious disappearance of China’s smooth-talking foreign minister is like something from a Netflix script.

The minister, Qin Gang, vanished in June and was later officially “removed” from office to be replaced by an older and dourer model, Wang Yi – a reliable veteran of the acerbic soundbite.

That is all China is saying. The foreign ministry spokespeople nervously muttered about “health reasons”, which in authoritarian regimes can mean a bout of shingles or a bullet in the back of the neck. We do not know more.

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