China Power

Where’s Wan Wuyi?

The head of Xinhua News Agency’s domestic service appears to have disappeared.

Well, whatever the Chinese leadership’s intentions in terms of spinning the US intervention over the South China Sea, its efforts at domestic propaganda more broadly could be complicated by a small problem—the head of its domestic news service appears to have gone missing in the UK.

According to The Daily Telegraph, which appears to have broken the story in the English press, Wan Wuyi disappeared after being sent on a training course for the official Xinhua News Agency at Oxford University. According to the newspaper, there’s now speculation that he may have defected in what it says would be one of the most senior defections from China ever.

The article notes:

‘Rumours on the Chinese internet suggested Mr Wan may have decided to flee after his reporting landed him on the wrong side of China's leaders. There were also claims he may have been under investigation for corruption. Mr Wan's wife is said to have already emigrated to the UK.

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‘An unnamed retired senior editor at Xinhua in Beijing told Mirrorbooks, a Chinese website operating out of New York, that Mr Wan had split from his colleagues during the visit.’

Defection, decision to relocate or just a temporary absence—it’s more than a little embarrassing for Beijing.