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Missing Chinese leader Xi Jinping shows up

September 15, 2012 10:39 IST

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is expected to succeed President Hu Jintao, on Saturday made public appearance after over two week long absence which sparked speculation that he was seriously ill.

State-run Xinhua news agency briefly reported that 59-year-old Xi arrived at China Agricultural University on Saturday for activities marking this year's National Science Popularisation Day.

Xi, also the leader of the ruling Communist Party China (CPC) school in Beijing, was last reported to have addressed a meeting on September 1 after which he was not seen in public.

Speculation about his health gained ground after he failed to keep up with the scheduled meetings with visiting dignitaries like US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt among others.

While officials informally said he suffered a back injury while swimming, foreign media reports speculated that he suffered a hearth attack or cancer to liver.

One report even said he sustained multiple injuries in a car accident along with another CPC leader.

Xi has become the most important figure in Chinese politics in recent months as he is set to succeed Hu both as President and General Secretary of the Party at the 18th Party Congress set to take place in the next few weeks.

He is set to take over power from Hu early next year. His prolonged absence has created speculation that elaborate succession plan worked out by the party has gone haywire.

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