For the first time since he disappeared from the public eye, it's starting to look like we can expect Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to make a public appearance on Saturday, marking exactly two weeks since he was last seen on Sept. 1. In a report Reuters is touting as an exclusive, Benjamin Kang Lim and Sui-Lee Wee have it it that Xi has been nursing a back injury, and is expected to make a public appearance on Saturday, citing "three sources close to the Chinese leadership, who are familiar with internal accounts of Xi's condition." But Reuters isn't the only one betting on a Saturday appearance. The Telegraph's Malcolm Moore corroborated the return date on Twitter, writing that a "good source" predicted Xi would make a public appearance then. The South China Morning Post also reported Xi was suffering from a bad back but would appear publicly by Saturday.
But not all the reporting agrees on what has been ailing Xi. The New York Times' Ian Johnson and Jonathan Ansfield cited "ranking party members" and Chinese newspaper editors who said the best information they had suggested Xi had suffered a heart attack or a mild stroke. Moore had also reported Wednesday that Xi had a heart attack, citing unnamed insiders and veteran Chinese journalists. The Times didn't offer a possible date for Xi's public return, but it provided good context about the political climate in China, where Xi is expected to take over the presidency from Hu Jintao at a Communist Party congress next month. With Xi mysteriously absent, the Chinese leadership is starting to look rudderless, they reported, so if he shows back up on Saturday as expected, it won't be a moment too soon.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.