Chinese social media is abuzz with news that their recently-vanished foreign minister was fired after his bosses in Beijing discovered he had fathered a child with his U.S.-based mistress.
The woman’s identity is not known, but online sleuths are pointing the finger at Fu Xiaotian, a glamorous television reporter based in the United States..
Her last post on social media was in April, showing her on a plane with her newborn son, Er-Kin.
The cryptic post showed her and the child; a plane taking off; and her interviewing Qin Gang, who was China’s foreign minister from January until his abrupt disappearance in July.
Fu Xiaotian, a television reporter for Phoenix TV, is seen in her March 2022 interview with Qin Gang
Fu’s final post on X, on April 10 this year, showed her on a plane with her baby son, Er-Kin
Qin, 57, served as Chinese ambassador to the United States from July 2021 until January this year, when he returned to Beijing to take up the role as China‘s top diplomat.
His promotion was seen as exceptionally swift, and a sign of his closeness to President Xi Jinping.
But Xi has attempted to rein in his senior ministers and diplomats, ending the trading of lavish gifts and frowning on ostentation.
He has taken a hard line on corruption, rapidly removing anyone who could be seen as vulnerable to bribery.
Qin’s removal and replacement with Wang Yi, a member of the party’s elite Politburo and China’s top foreign-affairs official, was initially described as being ‘for health reasons’.
But on Tuesday The Wall Street Journal reported that senior officials had been told that Qin was fired due to ‘lifestyle issues’ – a common euphemism for sexual misconduct.
Qin is seen meeting Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, on June 18, shortly before he was removed from his post
Qin is pictured with Sergei Lavrov, his Russian counterpart, in March this year at the G20
Qin, far left, is seen being elected as a state councillor on March 12 this year
Qin applauds on March 13 during the closing ceremony for China’s National People’s Congress
They said Qin was discovered to have carried out the affair throughout his stay in DC.
The names of the woman and the child were not revealed, and the paper was unable to confirm their identity.
An investigation has been launched and, with Qin’s cooperation, officials are looking at whether the affair or other conduct by Qin might have compromised China’s national security.
Qin’s fathering of a U.S.-born child was deemed problematic, sources told the paper, because it could render him less impartial in foreign policy.
Fu has not been seen since the April 10 post – three months after Qin himself left the U.S.
‘Last time flying alone with this aircraft was from LA to DC for a work visit, and that both happily and sadly turned to be the very last interview I did with Talk with World Leaders,’ she said.
‘This time to fly out with this aircraft was also from LA, but with precious baby son Er-Kin.’
Fu’s final post on X shows her flying somewhere with her baby, and interviewing Qin
Her show, Talk with World Leaders, broadcast on Phoenix TV, saw her interview figures such as Pfizer chairman Albert Bourla; fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg; and the Syrian ambassador to the U.S.
In March 2022 she interviewed Qin.
The YouTube link to the interview has now been taken down – unlike any of her other interviews.
Some Chinese social media users who saw the interview before it was removed said it was flirtatious, The New York Post reported.
Talk on Chinese social media platform Weibo about their demeanor in the interview has been censored, and posts removed.
Fu is also believed to have maintained a private Instagram account, The Post reported, on which she posted celebratory photos of her son’s 100th day of life March 4.
The pictures appeared to have been place at a rented Los Angeles residence.
Her whereabouts are not known, with her X account unable to accept messages and her website taken down.