China condemns ‘malicious’ publicity surrounding Qin Gang’s removal as foreign minister

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China opposed “malicious hype” surrounding the removal of Foreign Minister Qin Gang this week, as it avoided queries regarding the top diplomat’s departure.

Qin, a former ambassador to the United States and close confidant of President Xi Jinping, was fired on Tuesday.

When asked if she thought Beijing’s foreign ministry had been forthright about Qin’s removal, spokesperson Mao Ning asserted that China has disclosed information about recent staff changes “in a timely manner.”

“We have consistently opposed malicious hype of this matter,” she stated.

Following weeks of rumors that he had fallen out of favour, Beijing’s highest legislative body ousted Qin from office after only 207 days in office.

Wang Yi, a senior diplomat who served as foreign minister before Qin and outranked him in the Chinese official hierarchy, has taken his place.

Beijing has not explained why Qin was fired or why he has not been seen in public for more than a month.

Qin’s name has been removed from the foreign ministry’s website, and searches for him produce no results.

Previous stories regarding his diplomatic appearances were accompanied by a note stating that the page “does not exist or has been deleted.”