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Xi Jinping Mentioned in State Media, Still No Sighting

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Published on Sep 13, 2012

Rumors surrounding the health of leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping continue to fly today. At the same time, Chinese state-run media has made the first mention of Xi.

That mention was by text only. Late last night, local time, state-run media cited Xi as expressing condolences to the family of a veteran Communist Party official who died last week.

In Hong Kong, newspaper headlines questioned Xi's health and possible delays to the Communist Party's congress next month, reflecting the concern of the Chinese public.

Beijing has still not issued a statement on the condition of the 59-year-old, amidst claims ranging from a bad back, heart trouble, a stroke and a car-crash injury.

China's Foreign Ministry maintained a tight lid on the subject today, repeating the answers that it has given at its daily briefings over the last week.

Some experts have said that Beijing's silence could indicate some discord behind the scenes.

Many doubt Xi is suffering more than a minor ailment, but Beijing's refusal to clarify the situation has begun to emerge as a talking point in global financial markets. Investors are now keeping a close eye on Xi in a year already notable for high political drama.

But talk has yet to move markets, which remain absorbed by Europe's debt crisis and China's own economic slowdown.

Xi was last seen in public on September 1st, but speculation only took off last week when he skipped meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Singapore's prime minister.

This week, a pre-arranged photo opportunity between Xi and the Danish prime minister never happened.

Xi is expected to take over as the new Secretary General of China's ruling Communist Party next month, replacing outgoing leader Hu Jintao.

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