torsdag 15. oktober 2020

What the reaction to Chinese President Xi Jinping coughing during a speech says about East Asia right now

During a speech in Shenzhen on Wednesday to promote the continued development of China's first special economic zone, Chinese President Xi Jinping coughed -- a lot. While any speculation about Xi's health was, unsurprisingly, not evident on Chinese social media or in tightly controlled state publications, critics of Beijing quickly seized the opportunity.

In a story headlined "Xi Jinping coughs and coughs at Shenzhen event," Apple Daily -- a vehemently anti-Chinese Communist Party, pro-democracy newspaper in Hong Kong -- reported that in the second-half of Xi's 50-minute speech "he frequently paused to drink water and coughed repeatedly." "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," the newspaper said.