Wild rumors about China's President Xi Jinping shortly before the 20th party congress: "Where is Xi?"
Created: 09/26/2022, 15:56
By: Stella Rüggeberg
According to wild rumors over the weekend, China's head of state Xi Jinping is said to have been overthrown and is under house arrest.
Under the hashtag #whereisxi, users on Twitter speculated about the location of Xis.
Zhongnanhai/Munich – Shortly before the 20th party congress on October 16, wild rumors about the Chinese president were circulating over the weekend.
If you believe the discussions on Twitter, there was not only a coup in China, but since then head of state Xi Jinping has even been under house arrest.
After the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan, Xi Jinping was not seen in public.
The hashtags “#whereisxi” and “#chinacoup” therefore made the rounds on Twitter.
The suspicion of a military coup in Beijing came primarily from Indian social media.
Accordingly, Xi is said to have been arrested after his dismissal as head of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).
It is now clear that this putsch does not exist.
Experts and foreign correspondents in Beijing dismiss the rumors as conspiracy theories.
Everything is calm in Beijing.
“Xi has most likely been in quarantine since returning from the SCO.
There will be no coup,” said China expert Aadil Brar.
"If there were ever a 'coup' against Xi, it would be led by the political leadership, not the military.
A possible 'coup' will have quite different signs of political upheaval;
Flight cancellations do not reflect the chaos that would follow such a scenario."
James Palmer of the US magazine
tweeted: "There are rumors like this every six months".
Rumors of Xi Jinping's disappearance spread around the world
But rarely did such rumors reach the mainstream media around the world like this time.
They have been spreading since a Sept. 22 tweet from
New Highland Vision
, a Chinese Twitter account with over 70,000 followers reporting breaking news from the People's Republic: The account claimed former President Hu Jintao and ex-Premier Wen Jiabao persuaded a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee to take control of the Central Guard Bureau (CGB) from Xi Jinping.
The CGB elects and controls the bodyguards of the wards.
Xi Jinping wants to start his third term as Communist Party leader at the 20th party congress © IMAGO/Sergey Guneev
A report by the New York non-profit television network
New Tang Dynasty
, which reports on important events in the Chinese community in the US state, also said that Xi did not attend a seminar on national defense and military reform.
Also of great concern was the fact that on September 21, around 60 percent of the flights from Beijing had been canceled without any reason being given.
But the flight cancellations don't come as a surprise when you look at the past.
The number of flights per day therefore always decreases when COVID-19 spreads locally.
The cancellation of the flights cannot be attributed to military intervention, as some Twitter users claim.
Satire on rumors about Xi Jinping and military coup
Not everyone took the conspiracy theories seriously.
Many satirical reports can also be found under the hashtags #whereisxi and #chinacoup.
A Twitter thread by Spiegel correspondent Georg Fahrion, for example, humorously resolved the rumours.
"This is the Xinhua Gate, the main entrance to the Zhongnanhai compound, where all of the central leadership, including Xi Jinping, reside and work.
Elite paratroopers have taken control of the gate, cleverly disguised as the five middle-aged guys who always stand there," he quipped.
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So there is nothing to suggest a coup d'etat, nor an arrest of Xi Jinping.
However, wild rumors of a coup should be nothing new for the President.
In 2012, similar rumors made the rounds just before the party congress.
At that time, Xi Jinping was also not seen in public for several weeks - shortly before his first appointment as party leader.
At this year's party congress, Xi wants to proclaim his third term.
This would make him the most powerful and longest-reigning leader in China after Mao Zedong.
It is obvious that he will encounter criticism within the party.
The strict zero-Covid policy is also likely to be widely criticized in mid-October.
But observers consider a palace revolution to be practically impossible.