Xi Jinping coughs 'violently' during key speech, sparking health fears

Edited By: Gravitas desk WION
NEW DELHI Published: Oct 15, 2020, 11:02 PM(IST)

File image: Xi Jinping Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Beijing should come clean even if the president has a condition. Speaking out might improve their image.

China’s President Xi Jinping violently coughs throughout a speech to Communist party faithful in Shenzhen, prompting speculation on his health, as state media cuts away each time he is forced to stop speaking.

Cameras cut away from the President but he was heard spluttering on audio. Episode promoted his critics to speculate whether he has coronavirus.

Watch | Gravitas: Xi Jinping struggles through speech, coughs multiple times

Hong Kong's Apple Daily, which ran the headline "Xi Jinping coughs and coughs at Shenzhen event as Carrie Lam stays away from VIPs," noted that the Chinese president "was seen coughing away and drinking water."

Beijing should come clean even if the president has a condition. Speaking out might improve their image and he won't be the only one to have tested positive, if he has.

Leaders are not immune to coughs or to the Wuhan virus.US president Donald Trump tested positive. So did Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom and Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil.

The presidents of Bolivia, Guatemala and Honduras - were infected too. As were the prime ministers of Armenia and Russia. Xi Jinping would be just another name on the list.

But he won't be, China isn't famous for being transparent. Xi had also mysteriously disappeared when the virus first spread. He went missing from public view not once, but twice.

Then he appeared without a mask. In a bid to prove that China has defeated the virus. He lifted lockdowns and allowed pool parties. The stunt may have backfired. He sat coughing with China's top leaders in close proximity.

He may have compromised all of them. Trump would have been hauled over the coals for something like this. But in China, nobody questions the president. Everyone says the virus has been defeated.

Worldwide there's a looming second wave another round of lockdowns.

But China is immune from its own virus. China will also keep injecting its citizens with dubious vaccines and keep lifting restrictions as if the virus has vanished. 

Govt backed state media has issued so many propaganda videos to show that China has bounced back. But one man's cough can undo a lot.

(With inputs from agencies)

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