BEIJING - China has issued the first comments
attributed to president-in-waiting Xi Jinping since his disappearance from the
public eye over 10 days ago ignited rumors over his health, but there was no
public sighting or new photograph of him.
Xi, who has skipped meetings
with visiting foreign leaders over the past week, was cited by state media late
on Wednesday night as expressing condolences to the family of a veteran
Communist Party official who died last week.
Beijing has still not issued
a statement directly responding to the rumors over the 59-year-old's health,
which have included a bad back, heart trouble, a stroke and a car-crash
China experts doubt Xi is suffering more than a minor ailment - a
version supported by sources close to the leadership - but Beijing's refusal to
clarify the situation has begun to emerge as a talking point in global financial