Qin Gang

Where has Xi Jinping’s foreign minister gone?

This is the week that James Cleverly planned to be in Beijing to ‘engage, robustly and also constructively’ with China’s communist leaders. But the Foreign Secretary put his trip on hold because the man he planned to engage went missing. Since 25 June foreign minister Qin Gang has vanished without trace, leaving Cleverly twiddling his thumbs and the world wondering what on earth is going on at the top of the Chinese Communist party. The whole bizarre spectacle underlines the challenges of engaging with a system that is so deeply opaque. The mystery deepened on Tuesday when state media reported that Qin was being replaced by his predecessor Wang Yi