Taipei, Sept. 13 (CNA) China's Vice President Xi Jinping has just undergone a minor operation on his liver and is expected to "re-appear" next week, according to reports by the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy on Thursday.
The reports said doctors at a Beijing military hospital on Sept. 2 found an "extremely small" tumor on Xi's liver and removed the tumor this week.
Xi, who is expected to succeed Chinese President Hu Jintao, had not appeared in public since Sept. 1. Official media in China have made no reports of his whereabouts, triggering rumors and suspicions about his health and lack of public appearances.
The center quoted other sources as saying that Xi had suffered from back pain.
Japan's Jiji Press noted that the reported back pain had been caused while Xi was swimming -- a habit he has kept for a long time.
The Japanese media noted that another "theory" for Xi's sudden disappearance from public view was that he had a heart disease.
(By Yang Ming-chu and S.C. Chang)