CHINA Qin Gang fired; Wang Yi takes over as Minister of Foreign Affairs

For unknown reasons, the diplomat has not appeared on official engagements for a month. He was officially fired. He is replaced – and returned to office – by Xi Jinping’s powerful adviser on international relations. The withdrawal of one of the best-known “wolf warriors” is also a setback for the Chinese president, while Beijing is going through a delicate political stage.

Beijing ( / Agencies) – One month after his last official appearance, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang was officially dismissed. he so announced CCTV, Chinese state television, reporting the decision ratified today at an extraordinary session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. Yesterday, it had been resolved to remove the official during a meeting of the Politburo, the highest decision-making body. Replacing Qin Gang will be replaced by Wang Yi, who until now served as the Party’s international relations officer and had previously held the post of Foreign Minister. It was he who met with the Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, in February 2020, on the sidelines of the Security Conference in Munich.

Wang Yi already had a higher profile than Qin, working as President Xi Jinping’s top aide on foreign policy. In fact, he played a central role in diplomatic meetings in recent weeks after the sudden “disappearance” of the Qin Gang, whose last official commitment was on June 25 in a meeting with the ambassadors of Vietnam and Sri Lanka. Initially, the strange absence of the 57-year-old former Chinese ambassador in Washington had been verbally justified for health reasons, but the statements were removed from the official texts. Furthermore, ministry officials had stopped responding to questions on the subject.

The move confirms the Qin Gang’s fall from grace and constitutes a personal setback for Xi Jinping. The diplomat, one of the most representative exponents of the “wolf warriors” (the toughest wing in the international arena, to counter criticism against Beijing) was a figure loyal to the President who had supported him immediately after being reconfirmed for a third term at the head of the Party at the XX Congress, in October 2022.

As is often the case in Beijing, the reasons for the sudden removal of Qin Gang, who had taken office only six months ago, are not mentioned in official statements. In recent weeks, after his disappearance, rumors circulated that his absence was due to issues of his private life. Some mentioned an affair with a Hong Kong journalist working in the United States, a fact that would be inappropriate. Regardless of what the real reasons for the minister’s displacement are, it is clear that the leadership of Beijing diplomacy is going through an extremely delicate phase for Xi Jinping. All this occurs in the midst of a complex international scenario, intertwined with a Chinese economy whose results are below expectations.

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