Chinese President Xi Jinping reappeared on state television after his absence from public events for several days sparked rumors about the political fate of the 69-year-old leader, BTA reported, citing AP.

Footage was shown of Xi visiting an exhibit at the Beijing Exhibition Center on the theme of "Forward to a New Era."

Accompanied by Premier Li Keqiang and other representatives of the Chinese leadership, Xi, who in addition to being president is the head of the Chinese Communist Party and supreme commander of the People's Liberation Army of China (PLA), viewed some of the exhibits and commented on China's economic progress over the past decade.

It was Xi's first televised appearance since returning late last week from attending a regional summit in Uzbekistan.

According to China's anti-epidemic measures, he should remain in quarantine for a week after returning from abroad.

China's secretive political system often gives rise to various rumors of infighting or coup attempts, despite the resilient nature of the authoritarian state's surveillance apparatus, which ruthlessly crushes any sign of dissent.

Xi, considered by many to be the most powerful Chinese leader in decades, is not known to have any prominent rivals;

he removed constitutional limits on the number of terms in power, allowing him, if he wished, to become leader for life. 

It is not unusual for Chinese leaders to disappear from the public eye for days and even weeks, for example, to take part in informal political meetings in the seaside resort of Beidaihe every summer.

But the timing of Xi's absence from the spotlight just weeks before the upcoming CCP congress fueled the rumours.

At the forum, which begins on October 16, he is expected to be elected to a third five-year term as the party's leader, breaking with the previous tradition of each leader being limited to just two terms. 

Rumor of a coup in China

China politics expert Kerry Brown is highly skeptical that anything much should be looked for in Xi's absence.

"I suppose if there was any strong discontent among the elite against Xi's rule, at least we would have seen some signs of it," said Brown, professor of Chinese studies and director of the Lau China Institute at King's College London.

"And I don't think we've seen any particular signs of that." 

The party has an innate sense of risk aversion, so any individual or group determined to take such radical action will not find it easy to attack such a structure built almost entirely around Xi's personality, Brown said.

Rumors of infighting and coups are not uncommon ahead of such politically sensitive dates, and the PLA has also been disciplined by a massive anti-corruption campaign.

"I think there's some wishful thinking here, probably in Hong Kong and elsewhere," Brown said.

"I wouldn't take those rumors very seriously."


Xi Jinping

a coup