Bewildering Beijing swap: Wang Yi ascends as Qin Gang vanishes from foreign minister position

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In an electrifying turn of events, China’s government has executed an unexpected switcheroo in the political sphere! Qin Gang, who had mysteriously disappeared from public view since June, has been dethroned from his position as Foreign Minister, as reported by CCTV. As intrigue around Qin Gang’s sudden disappearance thickens, the Chinese authorities have remained tight-lipped, leaving the public to weave a web of speculations.

A new era beckons in the form of Wang Yi, a seasoned diplomat currently representing China at the BRICS National Security Advisers meet in South Africa. His appointment to the top diplomatic post came out of the blue during a special session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee. This sudden shift in political power was on the heels of a crucial Politburo meeting, which adds a further layer of mystery to this political whodunit!

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This shocking replacement is rooted in the Organic Law of the National People’s Congress, a new rulebook that came into effect in March 2021. It gives the Standing Committee the unparalleled power to appoint or boot members of the State Council, arguably the highest executive organ of state power in China.

Unexpected ouster: Qin Gang replaced as Chinese Foreign Minister amid speculation

Qin Gang replaced as Chinese Foreign Minister amid speculation. Photo courtesy of Official State Department photo by Chuck Kennedy/ U.S. Department of State/Wikimedia Commons.

Stepping into this political whirlwind, Wang Yi is no stranger to this prestigious post. He wore the mantle of Foreign Minister from 2013 to 2022 before ascending as the director of the foreign affairs arm of the Communist Party, essentially making him China’s leading diplomat. With Qin Gang’s enigmatic disappearance, Wang had been playing the role of the stand-in Foreign Minister for several weeks.

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The man of the hour, Qin Gang, was last seen rubbing shoulders with top officials from Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Russia in Beijing. His final public appearance involved a close interaction with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko, following an ephemeral insurrection by the Wagner mercenary group in Russia.

This shake-up leaves the reputation of Qin Gang, who was known to be President Xi Jinping’s right-hand man, hanging in the balance. Having ascended through the party ranks, Qin Gang has worn many hats, including that of China’s ambassador to the United States, before his swift rise to Foreign Minister and later, State Councillor. With the sudden vacuum left by Qin Gang’s departure, all eyes are on the newly appointed Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, as China navigates the turbulent waters of international diplomacy.

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