Mystery absence of China leader fuels rumor frenzy

September 10, 2012 - 4:37 AM

BEIJING (AP) — Where is China's President-in-waiting Xi Jinping?

Is he nursing a bad back after pulling a muscle in a soccer game? Was he in a car accident? Or just getting ready to lead the world's No. 2 economy ahead of a leadership transition next month?

Chinese micro-bloggers and overseas websites have speculated all this as to why the vice president has gone unseen for a week and canceled meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Singapore's prime minister. Monday, it was the Danish prime minister's turn.

Xi's whereabouts may never be known. One thing is certain: China may be a linchpin of the global economy and a force in diplomacy, but the lives of its leaders are a mystery to its people, and its politics an unfathomable black hole.