China's Tried To Hide One Bizarre rumour About Why Xi Jinping Was Late

Xi Jinping

Photo: AP

This week, desperate observers waiting to meet China’s Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) were forced to stay up late after Xi Jinping and his six PSC colleagues were nearly an hour late.The delay prompted a Twitter meme, with people all around the world tweeting theories as to why #WhyXiJinpingIsLate.

While almost all of these tweets were ridiculous, it appears that China’s censorship machine may have been taking some online rumours seriously.

China Digital Times, a website currently blocked in China that aggregates information about censorship in the country, published a recent list of words that appeared to be blocked on Chinese social media. The first entry is especially interesting:

Party Congress Brawl?: Online sources claim that a fight held up the announcement of the new Politburo Standing Committee members at the 18th Party Congress on Wednesday. It is claimed that former “Iron Lady”Wu Yi and Chen Zhili came to blows when ballots were being cast. This story has not been verified.

– assembly hall + fight (会场+打架)
– hold a meeting + fight (开会+打架)
– after the meeting + fight (会后+打架)

Of course, there is no real reason to believe the theory — online theories are everywhere in China, and just because China’s censorship says you can’t spread a rumour doesn’t mean its true. However, it is strangely reminiscent of another recent rumour which said Xi Jinping’s mysterious absence earlier this year was caused by a flying chair thrown during an earlier political fistfight.

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