BEIJING – Chinese leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping reappeared in public Saturday after a two-week absence that sparked rumors about his health and questions about the stability of the country’s succession process.
State media said Xi toured exhibits at China Agricultural University in Beijing commemorating National Science Popularization Day, but offered no explanation of why he had dropped from sight.
Photos posted on the government’s official website showed Xi dressed casually in an open-necked shirt and black windbreaker as he toured the university. He smiled as he examined corn plants, showing no sign of disability or ill health.
The state media reports did not address why Xi had not been seen publicly since Sept. 1, when he made a speech at the ruling Communist Party’s official training academy.
Since then, he has canceled meetings with visiting foreign dignitaries including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. The Chinese government has yet to explain Xi’s public absence.