Why China's Next Leader Went AWOL: Heart Attack
Back injury has been blamed for Xi Jinping's disappearance
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 13, 2012 6:38 AM CDT
In this May 4, 2012 photo, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping attends a conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)

(Newser) – Speculation has been swirling about why China's president-in-waiting inexplicably dropped out of public view, and the Telegraph may have an answer: Xi Jinping suffered a heart attack just weeks ahead of his expected promotion, an insider says. Xi hasn't been seen publicly since Sept. 1, and "although people have said he suffered a back injury, he actually had a heart attack," says a top political commentator. Other sources had pointed to a back injury while swimming or a stroke; either way, the 18th Party Congress next month is expected to go on. "The agenda for the Congress will not be changed, which means that (Xi) will have recovered beforehand," says the commentator.

The Communist party has resolutely deflected questions about Xi's disappearance, which has included canceling a meeting with Hillary Clinton. China has, however, released a public statement from Xi for the first time since he went off the radar. State media says Xi offers his sympathies to the family of another official, Huang Rong, who recently died. But the statement didn't directly quote Xi, the Guardian notes.