Hong Kong, Nov. 30 (CNA) China's new propaganda head Liu Qibao did not make a trip to Southeast Asia as scheduled, but it remains unclear what kept him from going, a Hong Kong daily reported Friday.
The Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily said a spokesman for China's International Liaison Department recently announced that Liu would visit North Korea, Vietnam and Laos, but Li Jianguo, vice chairman and secretary general of the National People's Congress, made the trip.
Because China could not possibly send two delegations simultaneously to visit the three countries, the reasonable presumption is that "something suddenly came up for Liu," and the head of the delegation had to be changed, the report said.
The reason behind Liu's change of plans was presumably a "secret," the report added.
The propaganda chief's last known public appearance was at a meeting of the Chinese Ballet Singers Association on Nov. 27.
China rarely comments on changes of plans or disappearances from public view of its top leaders.
Xi Jinping, who was anointed as the new head of the Communist Party of China at the party's 18th National Congress in mid-November, was not seen in public for two weeks prior to the meeting.
At the time, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs would not respond to questions about Xi's whereabouts.
(By Stanley Cheung and Lilian Wu)