The swift rise and mysterious fall of China’s missing foreign minister
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A Chinese Communist Party foreign minister is removed and the public is expected to accept it without explanation.

The less people are told, the more curious they seem to be.

There are those on social media who are poring over the most recent photos of Qin Gang in public and asking: Does he look sick? Who are his opponents in the Party’s senior ranks? In spite of the fact that China’s all-powerful leader appeared to support him so strongly, how were they able to bring him down?

Others are dissecting posts from the “missing” TV presenter with whom he was romantically involved. On his birthday, did she send him cryptic messages?

Truth can be virtually impossible to uncover in China’s murky, unforgiving power structure. It is designed to be that way.

However, at times like this, when a high-profile government official is dismissed without explanation, one wonders why anyone would climb the ranks of the Communist Party, seeking appointments and promotions, when the higher you rise, the more dangerous it gets.

It is possible to be in favor with the most powerful man in the land one day and disappear the next – probably for good.

It was delivered without fanfare and with little detail, as is typical.

Qin Gang, the rising star catapulted into the role of foreign minister by Xi Jinping himself, was removed from the post after a few sentences appeared on the state news agency Xinhua.

Chairman Xi ratified the decision by signing the order, the presenter said.

Only half a year after his appointment, Mr Qin’s time as China’s global public face came to an end.

It was reported about a month ago that he had disappeared from his normal duties due to some health issue.

As the weeks passed and he failed to reappear, speculation turned to the possibility that he was being punished for stepping out of line.

During that time, social media was abuzz with rumours of an affair with a female TV presenter, who had suddenly disappeared from social media.

It has been suggested that these two potential explanations can be combined: that rivals within the Communist Party used this moral indiscretion to get Mr Qin.

Although such an affair would not be illegal, it could be construed as a potential breach of Party discipline.

Health issues could also have played a role, but maybe that has been used as a political tool as well.