Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a visit to an exhibition in Beijing on Tuesday, according to state television, in his first public appearance since returning to China from an official trip to Central Asia in mid-September – dispelling rumours that he was under house arrest.
Xi has been absent from the public eye since he returned to China from a summit in Uzbekistan, driving speculations of military coups in Beijing.
Despite a moribund economy, the COVID-19 pandemic and rare public protests, as well as rising frictions with the West and tensions over Taiwan, Xi is positioned to secure a third term in power.
Xi has steadily consolidated power and eliminated space for dissent and opposition since becoming party general secretary a decade ago.
The 69-year-old leader’s likely ascendancy to a third five-year term, and possibly more, was set in 2018 when he eliminated the limit of two terms for the presidency.