Curated By: Shankhyaneel Sarkar
Last Updated: September 20, 2023, 11:39 IST
Washington D.C., United States of America (USA)
Chinese President Xi Jinping ousted former foreign minister Qin Gang from his role due to an alleged extramarital affair, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The Communist Party of China (CPC) probed the matter and found that the affair took place when he was serving as Chinese ambassador to the US. The Chinese foreign ministry declined to address the matter. Qin’s ouster shocked many because he was close to Xi Jinping. Before he was removed from his role in July, there were speculations regarding his sudden absence from public view for over a month.
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The CPC probe said Qin was dismissed due to “lifestyle issues” – a term, according to the WSJ and CNN, China uses to refer to sexual misconduct.
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The probe revealed that Qin had “engaged in an extramarital affair that led to the birth of a child in the US”, the WSJ report said.
The names of the woman and child were not disclosed to officials.
The WSJ report said the former foreign minister is cooperating in the ongoing probe. The probe focuses on any actions Qin may have taken to hurt China’s national security.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said she was not aware of these reports. Qin was replaced by his predecessor Wang Yi but remains listed as one of the five state councillors.
Xi Jinping has renewed his focus on national security and has taken steps to bolster China’s counter-espionage and intelligence gathering apparatuses this summer, CNN reported.
Qin served as Chinese envoy to the US from July 2021 until early 2023 and worked to restore US-China communication where he also met with counterpart Antony Blinken in June.
He is not the only high-profile Chinese personnel to be removed from major roles. A report by AFP said Chinese defence minister Li Shangfu is also facing a probe. Xi Jinping also removed Li Yuchao, the former commander, and now ex-commissar Xu Zhongbo, tasked to head the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force.
There are no updates on what happened or why Li Yuchao, the former commander, and now ex-commissar Xu Zhongbo were removed from their roles.