China's vice-president Xi Jinping to be seen?

China Vice-President Xi Jinping tipped to be the next president. Photo: Reuters/Charlie Neibergall/Pool

So will Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping appear tomorrow as a number of sources are telling us?

It's yet another question that will not be answered by the official foreign ministry spokesman.

All week the government has been deflecting questions about Xi Jinping's welfare and whereabouts. He's been "missing" for two weeks.

Is he even alive? Spokesman Hong Lei was asked on Tuesday. I hope you can ask sensible questions, he replied.

Now we learn from two sources that Xi Jinping will answer the questions by reappearing in public.

No doubt if this planned event at a university in Beijing goes ahead then it will be treated in a very matter of fact manner by state media. After all, there's been no official coverage of his "disappearance" at all.

Chinese social media, already censored, has not been allowing searches for Xi's name, in mandarin, pinyin, English or even crafty combinations.

Astonishingly "back injury" has been blocked as well; that's been one of the rumoured reasons for Xi's conspicuous absence. The censors have been working overtime.

It does say a lot about how China is run; despite the nation being the world's second largest economy and an increasingly important player in world diplomacy, when it comes to finding out about the Chinese leadership all information, including their health, is a state secret.

The sources have told us that the "bad back" reason for lying low for almost a fortnight may not be the real medical issue and that 59-year-old Xi has suffered from a heart problem, a symptom of which is back pain.

Back in 1993, the Premier Li Peng disappeared for months - he was ill with a "cold" officials told the world's media. It was in fact a heart attack.

Xi's reappearance will not fully answer the questions raised by his disappearance.

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