The global rumor mill is swirling around the sudden conspicuous absence of Xi Jinping, who is scheduled to ascend to China's presidency in a matter of weeks. Xi hasn't been seen in public in 10 days, according to the Telegraph, and last week he took the unheard of step of canceling three meetings with top foreign officials, including Hillary Clinton. Yesterday, officials turned journalists away from a planned photo-op between Xi and Denmark's prime minister, denying it had ever been scheduled.
Officials tell Reuters Xi hurt his back while swimming, but speculation of worse is rampant. One source tells the New York Times that Xi may have suffered a mild heart attack, and an earlier report, since retracted, alleged that a military official tried to assassinate him, and wound up injuring him in a car accident. Amid the speculation, China has blocked all Internet searches for his name, the Wall Street Journal reports. "Something is amiss," a Brookings Institute member says. "Otherwise, they would have found an opportunity for him to be seen. (Read more Xi Jinping stories.)