BEIJING, CHINA — China said Thursday it opposed “malicious hype” concerning this week’s removal of foreign minister Qin Gang, as it continued to avoid questions about the senior diplomat’s disappearance.
Qin, a former ambassador to the United States and confidant of President Xi Jinping, was removed from his position on Tuesday.
Asked Thursday about whether she believed Beijing’s foreign ministry had been transparent about Qin’s removal from office, spokeswoman Mao Ning insisted China has released information about recent personnel changes “in a timely manner”.
“We consistently oppose malicious hype of this matter,” she said.
Qin was removed from office by Beijing’s top lawmaking body after just 207 days in the job, following weeks of speculation that he had fallen out of favour.
He has been replaced by Wang Yi, a veteran diplomat who served as foreign minister before Qin and who outranked him in the Chinese government hierarchy.
Beijing has offered no explanation for Qin’s dismissal, nor why he has not been seen in public for more than a month.
“What I can tell you is that China’s diplomatic work has always been carried out under the centralised and unified leadership of the Party Central Committee,” Mao said on Thursday.
Qin has been scrubbed from the foreign ministry’s website, with searches for his name yielding no results. Previous articles about his diplomatic appearances showed a message saying the page “does not exist or has been deleted”.
“The foreign ministry website will be updated in a timely manner in accordance with relevant management regulations,” Mao said.
“Please have a look after the website is updated, OK?”