Qin Gang Had ‘Lifestyle Issues’

Qin Gang had “lifestyle issues.”

Qin, the geopolitical observers among you may recall, went missing in June, just seven months after assuming the role of Chinese foreign minister. Previously, he was China’s ambassador to the US.

Qin’s disappearance was notable. Generally speaking, top diplomats don’t just fall off the radar with no explanation. True, the Biden administration did lose an F-35 this week, but it isn’t likely the White House will lose Antony Blinken.

People do go missing in China from time to time, though. That’s a thing. Just ask Jack Ma, who disappeared for two entire years after publicly criticizing the Party in October of 2020.

Critiquing the government is one way to get yourself lost in Xi’s China. Another is to engage in any sort of corruption. Another, as it turns out, is to have an extramarital affair in the US while serving as Beijing’s top enjoy.

That’s what Qin did, sources told US media. And that’s not all he did. He also fathered a child in the US, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with an ongoing “internal Communist Party investigation.” Qin is still being probed for “possible national security violations.”

Xi should’ve known better. Even as he ascended the Party ranks in China, Qin was a relative nobody to the international community until around two years ago. As more than a few outlets pointed out Tuesday, he seemed fond of US culture. A year ago, he threw out the first pitch at a Cardinals game.


He also rode around with Elon Musk in a Tesla. According to Qin’s account of the joy ride, the two men mused about “cars on the road, stars in the sky, research of [the] human brain, the meaning of life on Earth and our future into the space.” “Look up and think beyond!” Qin exclaimed, exhorting nobody in particular in a caption accompanying a picture of himself and Musk posted to the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Qin’s chronicles of American life were presumably lost on Chinese citizens. They aren’t allowed to access American social media. But the Party was following along and you didn’t need to be a spy to suggest Qin’s zeal for the US might’ve been the genuine article, not just a charm offensive.

I don’t know the details of Qin’s alleged affair, nor do I care to know them, but he was surely aware that fathering a child in the US during the most contentious geopolitical atmosphere since the Cold War could be a death sentence back home — figuratively or maybe even literally.

“Lifestyle issues” is Party code for sexual deviance, and according to the Journal‘s account, that’s what Xi’s investigators discovered while looking into Qin’s stint as US ambassador. Qin is cooperating with the investigation because… well, because what else is he going do? Hire a lawyer and refuse to talk?

Some of you might be wondering whether this matters. The answer is “Yes.” Absolutely it does matter. This comes at a critical juncture for Xi, whose struggles to revive the economy and authoritarian domestic escalations have unnerved international investors and stoked fears in foreign policy circles that China may be a lost cause. Xi’s conspicuous absence from the G-20 this month didn’t help.

According to Bloomberg’s calculations using PBoC data, foreign holdings of Chinese stocks and bonds fell by nearly $190 billion from December 2021 through the end of June.

The Journal suggested Tuesday that Xi is combing the Party’s senior ranks to uncover any other double-dealings with foreigners. As you might’ve heard, defense minister Li Shangfu hasn’t been seen in a month. Rumors indicate he could be under investigation for corruption. Or, who knows, maybe he had “lifestyle issues” too.


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2 thoughts on “Qin Gang Had ‘Lifestyle Issues’

  1. Is all that so hard to imagine happening here? Depending on how the ’24 election goes, we may start to see disappearances and re-educations here.
    Witness a recent attempt by Federal US District Judge Brantley Starr ordering Southwest Airlines attorneys to attend “religious-liberty” training by a “christian” legal advocacy group (as H says, scare quotes intentional).

    As Ben Franklin noticed, you have a republic if you can keep it

  2. I think his fondness for the US was seen as the bigger betrayal than having an extra marital affair. My understanding is that, while the CCP is officially extremely prudish, Chinese elites are pretty “liberal” in their actual behaviour. Mistresses are common or so I am told…

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