In most countries, it would be unthinkable for a top government official to vanish for 26 days with no explanation. But that's exactly what has happened in China, where Foreign Minister Qin Gang's disappearance highlights just how secretive Xi Jinping's regime has become. This is a problem not only for China itself but also for all who engage with the government in Beijing.
Qin, a close confidant of Xi who rose swiftly through the diplomatic ranks, hasn't been seen in public since June 25. After he missed several high-level diplomatic meetings, China's foreign ministry said in a July 11 news conference that Qin was suffering from "a physical condition." That explanation is missing from the ministry's transcript of the news conference. Responding to reports that Qin was caught having an extramarital affair with a Chinese reporter while he was ambassador to Washington, a foreign ministry spokesperson said on July 17, "I have no information to offer."