China removed former Foreign Minister Qin Gang from his post after an investigation concluded he conducted an affair and fathered a child while serving as U.S. ambassador, Wall Street reported Newspaper. Senior officials were informed in August that a Communist Party investigation into Qin had revealed “lifestyle problems,” the newspaper reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the situation that it did not describe. This expression generally means sexual misconduct in the language of Chinese authorities.
Two of those interviewed said the affair led to the birth of a child in the United States. The investigation, with Qin’s help, is now focusing on whether or not the case compromised national security. China is engaged in an ideological battle with the United States, its main economic and geopolitical rival, which has seen Beijing step up its national security efforts to protect it from foreign threats.
Beijing’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
China removed Qin from his ministerial post in July, just seven months after he took office, making it his shortest tenure in the post. No explanation was given for Qin’s removal since his predecessor Wang Yi was reinstated.
The episode raised questions about President Xi Jinping’s decision-making and the stability of the government that runs the world’s second-largest economy. These concerns are being renewed by the current unexplained absence of Defense Minister Li Shangfu, amid media reports that he is under investigation for corruption.
Top brass in the ruling Communist Party are now under scrutiny for their dealings with foreigners, sources close to the WSJ said, adding that top brass in the Chinese military are also under the spotlight.
Few Chinese officials have risen through the diplomatic ranks as quickly as Qin. His big break came in 2015 when he was entrusted with overseeing protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During this six-year period, he organized state visits of senior leaders to China.
It was probably in this role that Qin gained access to Xi. He was photographed alongside the Chinese leader during a meeting with then-US President Donald Trump in Beijing in 2017.
In 2021, Qin was sent to Washington, while he was still relatively unknown outside diplomatic circles or the Beijing press. He demonstrated public relations savvy, embracing American culture by openly attending a baseball game and riding in a Tesla Inc. with Elon Musk.
He also made moderate remarks on hot-button issues, saying Beijing would have tried to stop Russia from invading Ukraine if it had known of its plans and downplayed the risk of war with Taiwan.
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