Chinese President Xi coughs violently throughout his speech, sparking speculation about his health, as state media pause every time he is forced to stop talking.
- Xi Jinping was delivering a speech to the Party faithful in Shenzhen on Wednesday
- Toward the end of his speech, he was seen and heard repeatedly coughing
- Cameras cut off the president, but a snapping sound was heard
- The episode promoted his critics to speculate on whether he was infected with the Coronavirus
Chinese President Xi Jinping was caught coughing his way through a letter to his friends, sparking speculation about his health.
The Communist leader’s voice was heard coughing repeatedly during the last ten minutes of a speech he gave in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, on Wednesday.
State television repeatedly cut things off during his coughing fits, but captured the moment he raised his hand to his mouth.
Xi Jinping was caught coughing repeatedly during the closing minutes of a speech he gave to the Party Faithful in Shenzhen on Wednesday.
He also caught the main sound, fluttering, sipping from a glass of water to clear his throat.
Xi’s critics seized the footage, especially those in Hong Kong, who had speculated on his health amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Apple TV, an outlet of the Anti-Communist Communist Party and Taiwan TV stations, both played the footage, stating that Xi “ coughed repeatedly. ”
Apple TV also suggested that Xi cut short his journey afterwards and return to Beijing, although MailOnline was unable to verify this.
Meanwhile, the Epoch Times, which is linked to the fiercely persecuted Falun Gong religious group, has questioned whether Xi has contracted the virus.
His visit to Shenzhen came amid a tour of southern China, during which he was photographed meeting crowds unmasked, although always from a distance.
China officially reports about 12 cases of the virus per day, and while these numbers are in doubt, the country’s booming economy indicates that the virus is far from spreading.
The episode, although short, sparked speculation that Shi was sick among his critics, and even hints that he might have contracted the Coronavirus.
This makes it extremely unlikely that Xi has contracted the virus, even though China’s rush to control his cough shows how politically sensitive the issue is.
Beijing has been keen to show its strength in responding to the disease, amid allegations that slips and cover-ups early on allowed the disease to spread internationally, eventually reaching every country on Earth.
An outbreak of just 13 cases in Qingdao over the weekend was enough to spark a mass testing response that saw everyone in the coastal city scanned.
Officials claimed to have tested 10 million people by Thursday without detecting any further cases of the virus – far exceeding testing capabilities in other countries.
Xi’s speech in Shenzhen came to mark the 40th anniversary of the former fishing village’s declaration that it was the first place in China to allow free enterprise.
During his speech, Xi promised to relax regulations to encourage new industries.
China reports about 12 cases of the virus per day, which means it is extremely unlikely that Xi has contracted it (file photo)
He also called for the “great renewal of the Chinese nation” and “improvement and upgrading of production.”
China is trying to take advantage of the global economic slowdown caused by the virus to increase its global standing.
The country’s economy is expected to grow this year, despite previous lockdowns, while most other world economies are expected to shrink or hit a recession.
Shenzhen has become a symbol of this growth, as it has expanded from a village of 30,000 people in 1980 to around 13 million today.
Its economic output of 2.7 trillion yuan ($ 400 billion) last year was greater than that of South Africa, the country of 58 million people.