Wednesday, June 03, 2009
The opposition press is spreading a rumor that China's top cop Zhou Yongkang is afflicted with cancer. I checked the official press and found indeed that Zhou has not made a public appearance since May 4th. At the same time, all of the other Standing Committee members have made public appearances since May 4th. We can't be sure that he has cancer, but his disappearance certainly suggests that he either is sick or is under investigation. Either would be extremely interesting for the power balance. Hu Jintao can certainly use this as a way to drastically change the power balance in his own favor. The problem is that I can't really think of anyone loyal to Hu who would be equipped to take on such an important position. Anyway, I will continue to monitor this situation.
Zhou appeared on CCTV evening news when it reported on the Political Bureau collective study session on 22 May. He was also at the Great Hall of the People on 18 May.
So he has definitely been seen in public since 4 May.