Rain. 51.2   F New York
AI-Powered News Summarizer
Top Stories

Analysis: What the reaction to China's leader coughing during a speech says about East Asia right now

October 15, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

HONG KONG, CHINA - 2020/10/14: Screens at a department store are seen showing a news broadcast of Chinese President Xi Jinping delivering a speech in Shenzhen. President Xi says Shenzhen will be the "engine" for the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area as he visits Shenzhen to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. (Photo by Isaac Wong/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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.

Hong Kong (CNN)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.

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. "

Epoch Times, a media outlet linked to the Falun Gong religious group, which has long been suppressed in China and is one of Beijing's biggest critics overseas, took the speculation a step further, with a video titled "Xi Jinping in Shenzhen: is he infected?" Some Taiwanese outlets also noted the President's "violent cough. "

There are, of course, plenty of reasons for Xi to cough that do not indicate illness: his throat may have been dry; he spoke for almost an hour, and China loves to over air-condition public buildings like the one he was speaking in.

Prior to his Shenzhen trip, which is partly a victory lap to show how much China has recovered from the coronavirus, Xi had been largely walled off from any potential infection vectors, in stark contrast to other world leaders, several of whom have come down with the virus, such as United States President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Despite all that, seeing Xi cough -- with even the suggestion that the leader of the world's second-largest economy could, like the leaders of the first and sixth, be infected -- did lead to some raised eyebrows Thursday.

Summarizer is on Google News. Now you can get the latest AI summarized news on your favorite news platform.

Don't like Google News? We have an RSS Feed for you.

Suggestions