China’s ousted foreign minister Qin Gang steps down as lawmaker

Qin Gang, the former foreign minister, was abruptly removed in July 2023 after just seven months into the job. - PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (Bloomberg): China’s shortest-serving Foreign Minister Qin Gang has officially stepped down from the country’s top legislative body, months after he was removed from his position and hasn’t been seen in public since.

The Standing Committee of the Tianjin Municipal People’s Congress has accepted Qin’s resignation, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday. The report didn’t say why he resigned.

Beijing has disclosed little about Qin’s status and whereabouts. The latest move means he will lose immunity from criminal prosecution, although he hasn’t been officially accused of any wrongdoings. Qin, who was hand-picked by President Xi Jinping, was abruptly removed in July after just seven months into the job.

China initially said he would skip an international gathering of top diplomats because of a "physical condition.” The Wall Street Journal reported that an investigation found Qin had an affair while serving as the US ambassador that could have endangered national security. No inquiry has been announced.

China’s ambassador to the European Union, Fu Cong, dismissed concern over Qin’s ouster in an interview with Bloomberg News last month, saying personnel change is not uncommon and that it doesn’t signify a change in China’s policy.

Qin remains a member on the Communist Party’s decision-making central committee.

Beijing also announced the removal of Feng Jiehong and Li Zhizhong from the national parliament. Feng was chairman at two units under China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp., a state-owned firm that produces missile systems. Li was once the head of the army’s equipment development department.

-- ©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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