13 September 2012
(c) 2012 Kyodo News
HONG KONG, Sept. 13 -- Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, the heir-apparent to the presidency of China whose absence from scheduled public events this month has set off a storm of rumors, has undergone surgery for early-stage liver cancer, a Hong Kong-based human rights watchdog said Thursday.
The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said Xi underwent the surgery at Beijing's 301 Military Hospital after cancerous cells were found in his liver during a physical check-up on Sept. 2.
Xi could reappear in public as early as next week, the center said.
Scheduled meetings last week between Xi and visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and a Russian official were cancelled on short notice. Beijing did not say why the meetings were called off, only describing it as a "normal change of schedule."
Xi's meeting with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt scheduled for Monday this week was also canceled by Beijing.
Foreign media reports said Xi strained his back from swimming, but Beijing declined to reveal Xi's whereabouts or his situation.