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Former Chinese Official: ‘VP had swimming injury’

September 18th, 2012
05:18 PM ET

By Samuel Burke

Xi Jinping, the Chinese president-in-waiting, mysteriously disappeared for two weeks because of a back injury suffered while swimming, according to Tung Chee Hwa, the former Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

“He hurt himself in sport and he’s now recovered and he’s now back at work,” Tung said in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour Tuesday.

Tung says he considered the media coverage to be mere speculation.

“In China the health of senior leaders is not a public issue. I suppose as time goes on, as China becomes more and more open and is also a part of the world, all these things will eventually change,” Tung said.

Jockeying for position ahead of China's leadership jamboree

Tung became the first Chief Executive of Hong Kong after the handover of control to China from the U.K. He now serves as chairman of the China-United States Exchange Foundation and has a close relationship with the highest levels of Chinese leadership.

Amanpour asked Tung if Xi would still be the next leader of China, as expected.

“I have no doubt whatsoever,” Tung said, adding that he believes the leadership contest will happen sometime in October.

Tung also said that current Chinese President Hu Jintao will most likely maintain leadership of the military after Xi becomes president.

“I’m not privy to this information - based on past practice he will retain the position for some time.’

Inside China this week, as the two countries face off over disputed islands in the East China Sea, protests continue to flare on today’s 81st anniversary of Japan's invasion of China.

Tung told Amanpour that the United States has an important role to help resolve the issue, saying he believes the United States has always been, and continues to be, a Pacific power.

“I think a nudge toward Japan by America would help a great deal. It is important. I hope cooler heads will prevail…. The Chinese leadership is saying very clearly, this has got to stop, come back to the table and see how we can work it through.”

Amanpour pushed Tung on whether he believed the issue would be resolved without further escalation, but Tung was reluctant to answer.

“I hope cooler heads will prevail,” Tung said again.

How a remote rock split China and Japan

soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. mediawatcher

    Murder... treason trials... death sentences... missing persons... So much intrigue around the Chinese Presidential selection.

    It's like their picking a Pope!

    September 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Reply
    • thislittlepiggywentweeweewee

      Don't you know? The government picks the Catholic bishops, as well as the next leader of Tibetan Buddhism.

      As for the article itself, other sources say the leader was recovering from a beating to teach him who his real masters are.

      September 19, 2012 at 12:20 am | Reply
    • Chocolate cupcakes

      It's like they're Chinese or something!

      September 19, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  2. Annie Sucie

    I guess I don't like the host. Her face, her tone, everything. I appreciate her strong personality, but she just sounds so harsh and rude! Please remember, you were doing a international news, not interrogating a prisoner. For the "back" problem, they only thing I can say is "LOL". Are you kidding? Or just fooling around? So many U.S citizens don't even get a job. They are worring about their life, their children's education, their parents' health care. When these emergency problems haven't solved yet, you're concerning about why did one of the Chinese leaders have a back injured? I mean it's a injury. People do sick, injured during the life time. Some people just think too much.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Reply
    • Solo

      Totally agree with you, some people just think too much, go back to your work, pay attention to the color of your boss's socks, make sure you don't get fXXk around with today's job

      September 18, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Reply
    • erzh

      If it was just a injury, only a injury which everyone might be sufferred from the daily life, why do you feel so unhappy when someone just trying to tickle his or her curiosity?

      September 19, 2012 at 12:39 am | Reply
    • monica

      i think the host had did some homework before interview, because there were too much rumor of the disappearence of the VP China, etc, secret murder,i think this is why she ask about the official "back injury" theory

      September 19, 2012 at 1:12 am | Reply
    • Jason

      You are surely right~!

      September 19, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Reply
  3. Chocolate cupcakes

    Did he hit his head? Is that why he's wearing lipstick??

    September 18, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  4. robnl44

    Maybe he was only taking a hike in the Appalachian............

    September 18, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Reply
    • simple simon


      September 19, 2012 at 12:24 am | Reply
    • Raymond

      Q: Why is Obama's Air Force One an aerodynamic miracle?

      A: It only has a left wing.

      September 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Reply
  5. John Daniel

    The event will unfold after both election n change of leadership in the US n China 🙂

    September 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  6. Paul

    It's said he secretly hosted a cabinet meeting and later house-prisoned in 323 hospital for about 2 weeks. IT'S SAID ONLY.

    September 18, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Reply
  7. Pleb

    Who actually cares about these things

    September 19, 2012 at 12:51 am | Reply
  8. China

    China has explained 1000000000000000000000000 times, Xi injured by swimming.
    Such news manipulation in US which can make white black and vice versa is Unbelievable!

    September 19, 2012 at 1:15 am | Reply
    • Chocolate cupcakes

      How do you injure yourself swimming? That's like injuring yourself sleeping.

      September 19, 2012 at 5:41 am | Reply
    • Jim

      You can tell us Americans whatever you want, when we're hell bent on believing our own made up theories – nothing will change that! After all, our country was founded on conspiracy theories, we have the most UFO and paranormal sightings in the world, and we were the ones who invented the aluminum foil thought blocker hat! TAKE THAT!

      September 19, 2012 at 9:10 am | Reply
      • commies really dumb

        we never believe communists sorry. Jim is an escapee from guantanimo. don't believe him. He's a Mandarin orange.

        September 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  9. XiJinping

    The chinese leadership isn't used to explain about petty things as sport injuries, as politicians have a private life also, what does the things politicians do in private concernes the public? Now I know why China has censorship over the news, so people won't have change to discuss over dumb things and rally up about it.

    Xi Jingping probably didn't even knew what was going on himself, probably went to the doctor, got a scan,and got the results a week later, how can he announce what was wrong when he wasn't sure himself? People accuse him not letting the public know beforehand, well now you know, and so what? Did the world became a better place?

    September 19, 2012 at 2:25 am | Reply
    • wellXU

      interesting comment , LOL!

      September 19, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Reply
  10. hg514


    September 19, 2012 at 4:09 am | Reply
  11. Hwang He

    Two weeks rest for a swimming injury? They must have very hard water in China. Or there might be sharks in the water.

    September 19, 2012 at 4:59 am | Reply
    • Jim

      I've injured myself swimming. You can end up pulling out your back, etc. when doing breast strokes, etc. Maybe your kind of swimming is floating around like a piece of turd in a pool but please dont apply that to every swimmer.

      September 19, 2012 at 9:11 am | Reply
      • Michael


        what an absurd statement. calling someone a turd? grow up. If all you can do is call people names and be rude, please sit on the sidelines. thank you in advance for just being quiet.

        September 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  12. cmmrc

    The host had did some homework before interview, rumor work. As to swimming injury, anything is possible, is skyscraper fall at free fall speed and cell-phone call made on the airplane on the the day possible?

    September 19, 2012 at 6:41 am | Reply
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    Good to see the Clone is finished...

    September 20, 2012 at 12:24 am | Reply
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    September 20, 2012 at 1:15 am | Reply
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    September 20, 2012 at 5:47 am | Reply

    Peaceful treatment for this dispute.

    September 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Reply
  17. paul chen

    Actually, we need to know the truth at real time instead of explanation afterwards.

    September 21, 2012 at 8:45 am | Reply
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    Li says "liu mao, there won't be any military conflicts between the two upset nations."

    September 28, 2012 at 8:43 am | Reply
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