Why Was Qin Gang Removed?

57-year-old Qin Gang was a rising star within the Chinese Communist Party. But no more. Until July 25th 2023 he was China's outspoken foreign minister. For a month previously he had disappeared, with initial reports stating that his absence was due to an undisclosed health problem. During that period China cancelled talks between Qin and European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on July 4th, as EU diplomats were initially told that Qin had tested positive for coronavirus. Qin subsequently missed high-level meetings with United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and US climate envoy John Kerry. Then at the end of July official sources announced that he had been removed from office.

CCTV simply declared that:

“The fourth session of the Standing Committee of the 14th National People’s Congress, which took place at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 25th July, voted to remove Qin Gang from the post of foreign minister he held, and to appoint Wang Yi as the foreign minister. President Xi Jinping signed a presidential order to effectuate the decision.”

It may be that by the time you read these comments the reason for Qin’s disappearance will be more clear. But for now, shortly after his removal, the reason for that fall from power remains hidden.

Qin was a Tianjin native who served in the Chinese government from the late 1980s, mostly in roles related to foreign affairs. He was fast-tracked promoted over more experienced candidates to be the Chinese ambassador to the US and then to be foreign minister in December 2022. He was made a member of China’s cabinet, the State Council, in March 2023. So he was sacked within eight months of being appointed.

Wang Yi, 69, who served in Qin’s position for nearly 10 years from 2013, was reappointed on Tuesday. Wang is the most senior Chinese diplomat and a member of the Chinese Communist party’s elite 24-member politburo.

The failure to announce any reason for Qin’s removal invited speculation. At least three theories were prevalent.

In recent years, Qin was seen as exemplifying Beijing’s turn towards aggressive so-called ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy. Did Qin take that aggression too far? That is unlikely.

  1. There was speculation over his personal affairs, with rumours of an affair with a state broadcaster. If so, that would be embarrassing given the party’s moralising political education campaign.
  2. That he is the victim of political rivalries. Qin was handpicked by Xi Jinping for the foreign minister role and was a trusted subordinate of Xi. Any idea of an attack on Xi from inside the party does not seen likely at this time.
  3. The Eurasia Group stated that "Qin's disappearance has curtailed China's diplomatic activity over the last month but will have little impact on the country's foreign policy or present meaningful reputational risks for Xi”. However the timing is not ideal as China prepares for a potential meeting between Xi and President Joe Biden in November at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in the US.

Joseph Torigian summed up the situation:

“For the outside world, it was a reminder of the opacity of China’s system. For literally the face of the country (the foreign minister) to disappear in this particular way, it really accentuates the difficulties that people outside the country have when they are trying to figure out what is going on within it.”

Please Pray

Pray for Qin Gang to encounter the Lord as he faces this disgrace and loss of power and position.

Pray for Wang Yi as he takes over the important foreign minister position.

Pray for foreign leaders in their dealing with China to have wisdom in working with this Chinese political “opacity”.

Search the Archives

China and The Private Automobile

5 China-Related Matters to Watch in 2024

God Speaks Tibetan!

A Chinese House Church Testimony

The DNA of the church in China

Why Was Qin Gang Removed?

China’s ‘Sinicization’ Of Religion

Three Pastors Who Lost Their Jobs

Is Lu ShaYe A Lone Wolf Or Leader Of The Pack?

Li Qiang, China’s New Premier

Chinese Spiritual Civilisation

Population and Pensions in China

Jiang Zemin

China’s Zero-Covid Policy

The Implications of the October CCP Meeting

One Chinese Certainty and One Chinese Uncertainty

China’s New School Textbooks

Three Recent Trends in the Chinese Church

More Not Less For China

Elon Musk Versus Gordon Chang

Changes Taking Place in Shanghai

China, Russia and Ukraine

What Is “Tang Ping”?

Covid And Christianity In China. A Strange Parallel.

China’s New Laws Governing Religion

Covid and the Chinese Winter Olympics

China’s New International Vision

“Common Prosperity” (共同富裕)

Afghanistan and China

Mainland Chinese Studying Overseas

The 3 Phases Of The Modern Church In China

The Chinese Church and Heresies

China’s Falling Birth Rate

China and Poverty

China’s Economic Paradox

The Value of a Life

New Religious Laws Proposed in China

A New Year and A New Day In China Ministry

China’s Relationship With India

Text Book Lies

Confucius Institutes (CIs)

Chinese Students in the West

“Rich State, Poor People.”

A Son Missing For 32 Years.

Churches Under Lockdown In China.

The Wrong Topic

What Is The Lord Saying To The Chinese Church?

Drones And Prayers

Journalism, East and West

Standing In The Gap In 2020

A Dark Shadow Over China’s Students And Teachers

China: Education and AI

What Kind Of Cat Does China Need? 

5 Needs of the Chinese Church Today.

China’s Population: A hidden crisis.

Trade Wars

The Chinese Union Bible

Important Anniversaries In China

China’s Social Credit System

Co-opt and Control or Remove

Arrests in China

China's new status in the world. 

A new weapon for China. 

China’s plan to 'sinicize' religions. 

Two Huge Events for the Church in China. 

Religious freedom in China? 

Two Chinese Christians Murdered in Pakistan 

One Belt one Road