Xi Jinping makes first public appearance after ‘coup’ rumors – Nexus News

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited an exhibition in Beijing on Tuesday, according to state television, in his first public appearance since returning to China from an official trip to Central Asia in mid-September – debunking unverified claims that he was under house arrest.

Xi has been absent from the public eye since he came back to China from a summit in Uzbekistan, driving unverified speculations of military coups in Beijing.

Despite a moribund economy, the COVID-19 pandemic and rare public protests, as well as increasing frictions with the West and tensions over Taiwan, Xi is positioned to get a third term in power to pursue his grand vision for the “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” for years to come.

Xi has continuously consolidated power and avoided space for dissent and opposition since becoming party general secretary a decade ago. China has also become far more self-assured on the global stage as an alternative leader to the US-led, post-World War II order.

The 69-year-old leader’s likely ascendancy to a third five-year term, and possibly more terms, was attained in 2018 when he eliminated the limit of two terms for the presidency.

Xi’s decade-long rule in power has seen crackdowns on corruption within the party – although observers have stated that they served to bring down political rivals, a series of moves to crush a pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, and strict COVID lockdowns on cities to control the spread.

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Xi has also faced strict human rights criticism from the international community for oppressive policies in the northwestern Xinjiang region, which have seen an estimated one million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities detained in a sweeping crackdown ostensibly targeting “terrorism”.

In advance of the once-in-five-years Chinese Communist party’s (CCP) meeting, on October 16, during which Xi is widely expected to retain his third term as leader, a purge of senior officials took place. Former vice minister of public security Sun Lijun, former justice minister Fu Zhenghua, and former police chiefs of Shanghai, Chongqing and Shanxi were arraigned on corruption charges.

The arrest led to China’s biggest political purge in years.

On Sunday, state media revealed a list of the 2,300 CCP central committee delegates. Xi’s name on the list further refuted social media rumors of a military coup in Beijing, which were fuelled by unverified videos of military vehicles and flight cancellations.

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