KEY POINTS

  • There has been no official confirmation from China in this regard 
  • Xi was "seen and heard" coughing a lot during a speech last October
  • His "unusual gait" had caught the world's attention in 2019 

Chinese President Xi Jinping is suffering from a "cerebral aneurysm," which resulted in him being hospitalized at the end of last year, reports in Indian media said. 

However, Xi opted against surgery, instead going for a treatment involving traditional Chinese medicines that soften the blood vessels and shrink aneurysms, reported New Delhi-based ANI new service.  The report quoted "media reports" as its source but did not name any media outlet that reported the news originally, or when the news was published.  

International Business Times could not independently verify this news, and no other reports on Xi's reported health condition, including on Chinese media, turned up in a Google search.

According to the ANI report, there had been speculations about Xi's health as the Chinese premier had avoided meeting foreign leaders since the outbreak of COVID-19, until the Beijing Olympics. 

Last October, during a speech in Shenzhen to promote China's first special economic zone, Xi was "seen and heard" coughing a lot. Though the Chinese media was tight-lipped about his health, critics said Xi had "frequently paused to drink water and coughed repeatedly" during the 50-minute speech. 

"Whenever Xi stopped, the live feed from state broadcaster CCTV would turn the camera to guests sitting beyond the main table, but it could still capture the sounds of Xi's coughing and drinking," a Hong Kong-based anti-China newspaper had reported then. 

In 2019, Xi's "unusual gait" caught the world's attention. During his visits to Italy, Monaco and France, the communist leader was seen walking with a slight limp while inspecting honor guards and touring local sights. He was also seen gripping both arms on his chair to support himself as he sat down, triggering questions about his health. Many highlighted how there was no mention of a successor and political analysts commented that the "danger of not naming a successor is that a leader can’t fall sick" and any reports of his health issues would "stir rumors that undercut his authority."

Xi's prolonged absence from the global space didn't go unnoticed. Last November, a report by The New York Times mentioned how Xi had not left China in 21 months, seemingly due to the pandemic. The report said his absence has "reinforced a deeper shift in China’s foreign and domestic policy" and "complicated China’s ambition to position itself as an alternative to American leadership."

The leader, who has been serving as the president of China since 2013, is eyeing a historic third term. He was recently elected a delegate to the Communist Party’s national congress, a procedural move that is likely to lead to him securing an unprecedented third term as the party leader. 

Xi Jinping said Beijing was ready to "develop the China-DPRK relations of friendship and cooperation" under a "new situation Representation. Photo: POOL via AFP / Anthony WALLACE