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What experts are saying about the social media buzz about Xi Jinping’s house arrest in China




Social media has been abuzz with rumors that Chinese President Xi Jinping has been placed under house arrest in connection with an alleged military coup by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). While there has been no official word on the matter from the ruling Chinese Communist Party or state media, several experts have ruled out such a possibility.

The rumors come shortly after the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit that concluded in Uzbekistan last week. The Chinese premier attended the summit where he met with several world leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and held talks with some of them. It was the first time Xi and Modi had come face to face since the 2020 border clashes that disrupted relations between India and China.

On Saturday, several Twitter users shared posts about a possible PLA “coup”, with some saying Xi had been placed under house arrest soon after returning from the SCO summit. Some users also cited large-scale flight cancellations and claimed PLA vehicles were heading towards the capital Beijing.

“#PLA military vehicles are heading to #Beijing on September 22. Starting from Huanlai County near Beijing and ending in Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province, the entire procession as long as 80 KM. Meanwhile, rumor says #XiJinping was under arrest after #CCP seniors removed him as PLA leader (sic),” tweeted user Jennifer Zeng.

“This video of military vehicles moving towards Beijing comes immediately after 59% of flights in the country were grounded and senior officials jailed. There is a lot of smoke, which means there is a fire somewhere inside the CCP. unstable,” author Gordon G Chang posted, quoting Jennifer Zeng’s Twitter post.

Several unverified reports also said no commercial flights were flying over Beijing on Saturday, claiming to show real-time imagery from radar apps.

The rumors surfaced ahead of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China which is due to take place on October 16. At the CCP session, Xi is expected to secure power again – for his third five-year term.

What the experts say

Taking to Twitter, several Chinese pundits said there was no sign of a coup yet and everything being said on social media was just rumour.

“Xi is most likely in quarantine after returning from SCO. There is no coup d’etat. Looks like a lot of alternative media in India picked up on the rumour,” Aadil Brar, a China expert, said on Twitter.

He also sought to debunk the flight cancellation theory.

“The coup rumors in China seem to be just that – rumors,” said national security analyst Nitin A Gokhale.

Author Gordon Chang tweeted: “The lack of news from #China over the past few hours suggests that the coup rumors are false, but everything that happened within the #Chinese military over the past three days – obviously something unusual has happened – tells us that there is turmoil inside the #CCP senior leadership.

The rumors also come after two former Chinese ministers were sentenced to death and four other officials received life sentences earlier this week. All six are believed to be part of a particular “political faction”.




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