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Xi Mysteriously Failed to Show Up at a BRICS Event, Sparking Wild Speculation Over What Happened

Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao delivered an address on behalf of President Xi Jinping who was inexplicably absent from the BRICS Business Forum in Johannesburg on August 22, 2023. GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP

The opening day of the BRICS summit in South Africa began as expected on Tuesday with a flurry of high-profile arrivals in Johannesburg followed by a bilateral meeting between South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

The two presidents then participated in an initial round of discussions with the other three leaders from Russia, Brazil and India and attended a leaders’ dinner.

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