Doubts Arise Over Qin Gang's Fate on Twitter as U.S. Media's New Revelations Spark Questions

A well-known English political news website recently reported that China’s former Foreign Minister Qin Gang was arrested on suspicion of leaking China’s military secrets to the West and committed suicide or was “tortured to death” in Beijing in July. The revelation immediately sparked controversy on social media, with many senior Western China observers expressing doubts about the authenticity of the report.

In an unsigned report published on Monday (December 6), the European version of the American media Politico quoted Chinese government insiders with high-level contacts in Beijing as saying that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko During his visit to China in late June, Rudenko told Chinese leader Xi Jinping that his Foreign Minister Qin Gang and many senior PLA officials had compromised with Western intelligence agencies, including Defense Minister Li Shangfu. The officials were subsequently jailed.

Other senior military officials imprisoned were mainly from the Rocket Force, which is in charge of nuclear weapons, including Rocket Force Commander Li Yuchao and others. Previous media reports said the officers were being investigated for alleged corruption.

Citing two anonymous sources, Politico said Qin Gang died in a military hospital in Beijing in July, possibly due to “torture to death” or suicide.

Both Qin Gang and Li Shangfu were previously considered officials trusted by Xi Jinping. Politico reported that the detention of these officials cast doubt on the internal stability of the Chinese regime.

As soon as this report was released, it immediately attracted the attention of Chinese observers. “This article is crazy,” Matt Schrader, a China affairs researcher who has worked in the U.S. Congress and the think tank German Marshall Fund, wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

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Bill Bishop, a well-known expert on China affairs, commented on this report: “The article does not have the name of the author. Some of the sensational revelations are relatively true, and some are rumors that have been circulating for a while, but these accusations The suspicion is justified.”

No byline, some sensational claims, parts of it ring true, parts of it have been going around for a while but some skepticism warranted

— Bill Bishop (@niubi) December 6, 2023

Gady Epstein, editor of The Economist, also warned: “Readers need to note that the sources for these statements are unreliable. This report about China’s leadership is full of speculation, gossip, and rumors. It sounds great but it’s hard to prove.”

Reader beware, this is not a credibly sourced account. A speculative, gossipy, rumor-filled Chinese leadership story that’s too good to check

— Gady Epstein (@gadyepstein) December 6, 2023

Neil Thomas, a China politics researcher at the Asia Society, questioned the content of the report in a series of tweets. Regarding the sources cited by Politico as having “contacts with high-level Chinese officials,” Niu Ben asked: “What does having contact mean? How high-level are those officials? Even most people within the party don’t know what happened at the highest level.” What.”

The source is “several people with access to high-level Chinese officials” They could be credible and correct. Entirely possible. But what does access mean? How high-level are these officials? Even most Party insiders do not know what is going on at the very top 6/16

— Neil Thomas Niu Run (@neilthomas123) December 7, 2023

Regarding the reported claim that Qin Gang leaked secrets about China’s nuclear program to Western intelligence agencies, Niu Ben said: “How could Qin Gang have nuclear secrets? Why can a diplomat touch the most sensitive parts of the PLA system that are strictly controlled?”

These sources say Rudenko alleged Qin “helped pass Chinese nuclear secrets to Western intelligence agencies”Maybe? But how would Qin get nuclear secrets? How would a diplomat access the most sensitive parts of the stovepiped PLA system?Makes me wonder about the sources7/16

— Neil Thomas Niu Run (@neilthomas123) December 7, 2023

Chinese media person An Ti also said on X: “I think the credibility of Politico’s bed-listening report is less than 40%.”

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But some observers believed the report was credible. Kevin Carrico, a sinologist at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, wrote: “Qin Gang’s disappearance was so sudden and strange that I haven’t seen any reasonable explanation. This explanation, In my opinion, it connects many events since July. But we will probably never know the truth 100%.”

I certainly don’t know, but just lean toward “seems plausible” The Qin Gang disappearance was so sudden and so odd that I have yet to see any explanation of it that makes sense. This one, in my opinion, connects a number of dots in events throughout July.But we will probably…

— Kevin Carrico (@kevincarrico) December 7, 2023

Gordon Chang, an American commentator and author of the book “China Is About to Collapse,” commented on the report: “The Chinese Communist Party is in crisis, partly because the entire country is about to collapse.”

The bottom line is that in #China there are events that do not occur unless there is extreme political instability. We also see instability in the events that should occur but are not occurring. The #CCP is in distress, partly because the country is about to fall apart.

— Gordon G. Chang (@GordonGChang) December 6, 2023