Wang Yi is China’s New Foreign Minister

The Chinese Parliament dismissed Foreign Minister Qin Gang from his post. Wang Yi, the influential foreign minister of China in the leadership of the Communist Party, has been appointed as the new head of Chinese diplomacy.

Former Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang reappeared on Tuesday, July 25, after a mysterious absence for a month. And not personally, but as a first and last name in a meager statement from the National People’s Congress – as China calls the parliament – that dismissed the 57-year-old diplomat, who was in charge of China’s foreign policy for only seven months. His place is now taken by Wang Yi, the former director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China, effectively the highest domestic diplomatic post. Wang Yi headed the Chinese Foreign Ministry for 10 years before being promoted to the top of the Communist Party in December last year, and his post was entrusted to Qin Gang, who returned to Beijing from Washington DC, where he spent less than a year and a half as Chinese ambassador to the United States.

The former minister disappeared from view on June 25, and the Beijing authorities have never been willing to explain the reasons for his long absence. On July 11, at a regular briefing, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs talked about “health reasons,” but an hour later this statement disappeared from the minutes of the meeting with journalists. Among the hypotheses that circulated in the international media, besides a serious form of Covid, there was also an alleged extramarital affair with Chinese Phoenix TV 40-year-old journalist in Hong Kong Fu Xiaotian. Qin Gang’s disappearance from the public stage forced EU Chief Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell and British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley to cancel their official visits to Beijing.

According to many international observers, Qin Gang’s dismissal was not based on “misinterpretations of the Chinese Communist Party’s political line”: as the head of Chinese diplomacy, he always used very harsh tones towards the United States after the recent escalation of tensions between Beijing and Washington. The last official in the administration of President Joe Biden, who was received by the former secretary, was US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during his visit to Beijing in mid-June.

But there was another important appointment to the pinnacle of China’s financial and economic power that went almost unnoticed against the backdrop of the mysterious disappearance and sensational torpedoing of Qin Gang. Also on Tuesday, the Chinese parliament promoted 60-year-old Pan Gongsheng from deputy governor to governor of the People’s Bank of China (country’s central banking institution, PBOC), recently appointed secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with authority to lead the PBOC. In early July, Pan Gongsheng had a conversation with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who was on a visit to Beijing.