Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Tuesday, September 27, made his first reappearance on state media after returning from an overseas trip to Central Asia.

State broadcaster CCTV featured the Chinese leader walking down the Beijing Exhibition Hall with Premier Li Keqiang and other top leaders. The exhibition’s theme was “Forging Ahead into the New Era.” Xi also delivered a speech about China’s economic growth in the past decade.

This is the first time the Chinese leader has been seen in  public since coming back from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit on September 16. The event was held in Uzbekistan.

While the 20th National Congress is fast approaching, his absence stirred speculations online about his political prospects. Rumors claimed that a military coup had occurred, Xi had lost control of the People’s Liberation Army and was under house arrest.

Nevertheless, others have pointed out that when Xi returned to China, he would have had to remain in quarantine for at least 7 days. The protocols often include three additional days of home stay.

Xi is widely expected to secure a third term in the key Party congress scheduled for October 16. He has also erased constitutional term limitations, enabling him to govern indefinitely if he so chooses. 

Before the rumors emerged, the CCP gave two former ministers death sentences and four officials life sentences. Reportedly, the six were a part of a political faction against Xi’s leadership.

Before the CCTV reappearance,on September 25,  Xinhua News Agency also announced the list of over 2,200 elected delegates attending the National Congress. With Xi’s name included, it also partially dismissed the hearsay of a new Chinese leader to replace him.

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