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Chinese PM Fills in for His Boss at G20, Still No Explanation From Beijing Why Xi Jinping Was a No Show

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hand with Chinese Premier Li Qiang ahead of the G20 Leaders' Summit in New Delhi on September 9, 2023. Evan Vucci / POOL / AFP

China did its very best to downplay President Xi Jinping’s absence from the G20 leaders summit in New Delhi over the weekend, sending novice diplomat Premier Li Qiang in his place.

At home, China’s tightly controlled media made no mention of Xi’s absence, nor did the Foreign Ministry provide any hint as to why the President stayed home from both last week’s ASEAN summit in Jakarta and the G20 gathering in India even after he attended the BRICS summit in South Africa earlier this month.

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