The President hasn’t been seen in public in several days and missed his regular media appearances – but Chinese social media users speculating about his whereabouts are being censored
“While you would think the ‘people’s leader’ would want to be seen close to the people, perhaps, in this case, the risk of him catching the virus may be too high,” suggests China analyst Bill Bishop.
He added that photos of Xi wearing a protective mask might also damage his reputation as a strong leader.
Chinese citizens are particularly concerned by the disappearance of their President, and are using social media to communicate their worries and speculate as to where he might be.
However these posts are being “swiftly deleted by censors”, CNN reports. The Chinese government has a stranglehold on the internet known as the “Great Firewall” and content that questions or criticises the state is often blocked.