China's Xi absent from People's Daily cover again, despite kicking off tour to Africa

The CCP mouthpiece publication's front page excluded mention of Xi again on July 18 as the chairman departed for a diplomatic tour of Africa 

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Recently there have been rumors arising about possible tensions or efforts to divert attention away from Xi Jinping within Chinese media.

The mouthpiece of the Communist Party, the People’s Daily, over the past ten days has excluded mention of Chairman Xi on its cover on four occasions, on July 9, July 12, July 15, and again on July 18. This was despite Xi Jinping’s departure for a diplomatic tour to Africa and the UAE.

Many are questioning why the tour to strengthen Chinese influence in Africa and the Mideast would be underreported by such a key party publication.

While some reports speculate on possible tensions, or rifts forming within the party, some scholars have simply suggested that party leadership may be shifting tactics in order to tone down undue emphasis on the personality cult of Xi Jinping.

Others speculate that Xi may be under increased pressure from the trade dispute with the U.S. and other factors, and may be personally directing the spotlight towards other news. An anonymous scholar quoted by CNA said that Xi’s position in the party remains “very stable.”

It is possible that Xi is aiming to shy away from media attention as he engages more directly in trade talks with the U.S., where he may be forced to make economic concessions that could potentially damage his public image.

As speculation swirls around the editorial decision of the People’s Daily, which has historically been used as an indicator of the political climate in Beijing, Xi Jinping has departed for a tour of the United Arab Emirates, Senegal, Rwanda, and South Africa with a stop in Mauritius on the way back to China.

Xi's tour abroad will last from July 19 to July 28. During his time in South Africa he will attend the 10th annual BRICS Summit on July 25-27, reports CNA.