Dünya Bülteni/Haber Merkezi
China's leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping appeared in public on Saturday for the first time in about two weeks, visiting a Beijing university in what appeared to be an effort to dispel rumours of serious illness and a troubled succession.
In a brief English-language report, the Xinhua news agency said Vice President Xi "arrived at China Agricultural University Saturday morning for activities marking this year's National Science Popularisation Day".
A single picture on the government's website (www.gov.cn) showed Xi, with a slight smile and wearing a black informal jacket over a white shirt, walking around the university.
Reuters had reported that Xi was likely to make an appearance on Saturday.
Sources have told Reuters that Xi hurt his back while swimming earlier this month and that he had been obeying doctors' orders to get bed rest and undergo physiotherapy.
A Reuters reporter at the university saw a man with sleek black hair wearing a white shirt -- who from a distance looked like Xi -- getting loud applause as he stepped out of the building housing an exhibition and raised his arms up and down twice in a gesture of vigour.
There was a light security presence around the university, but a building housing a science exhibition was closed off by police and plain clothes guards.
Hundreds of students applauded, some shouting "Vice President Xi" or even "President Xi".
A roar went up when his car rushed by and Xi waved his hand out the window.
"It was him for sure," said one student, who had taken a blurry shot of the car on his smart phone. "He must be better." The student refused to give his name.
The news spread rapidly on China's popular Twitter-like microblogging site Sina Weibo, with users referring to Xi as the "crown prince" to avoid the usual censorship associated with the names of top leaders.
"He looks well," wrote one user.
"In the future he should take better care when he goes swimming," added another.
Xi had been out of the public eye for almost two weeks and had skipped meetings with foreign leaders and dignitaries, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Chinese government officials repeatedly refused to say what had happened to him, fuelling speculation that has included Xi supposedly suffering a heart attack, a stroke, emergency cancer surgery and even an attempted assassination.
The health of the country's leaders has long been considered a state secret in China.
The ruling Communist Party's refusal to comment on his disappearance from public view and absence from scheduled events was in keeping with its traditional silence on the question of the health of top leaders, but it had worried or mystified most China watchers.
Xi had last appeared in public on Sept. 1. He pulled a back muscle while swimming shortly before Clinton arrived on an official visit on Sept. 4, the sources had said, forcing him to scrap a meeting with her the next day and also with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Beijing has yet to announce formally a date for the party's five-yearly congress, at which Xi is tipped to replace Hu Jintao as party chief, although it is still expected to be held in mid or late October at the earliest.
In March next year, he is formally to take over the reins of the world's second-largest economy.
The uncertainty surrounding Xi's absence has had no impact so far on Chinese or foreign markets, which have been absorbed by Europe's debt crisis and China's own economic slowdown. But investors have been keeping a close eye on the mystery surrounding Xi, after months of political drama in China.
Senior leader Bo Xilai was suspended from the party's 25-member Politburo in April and his wife convicted of the murder of a British businessman. Blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng escaped from house arrest in April and took refuge in the U.S. embassy before leaving for New York.
In another scandal this month, a senior ally of President Hu was demoted after sources said the ally's son was killed in a crash involving a luxury sports car.
A Singapore Airlines plane en route to MIlan turned back to Singapore two hours into journey after reported engine problem
It has been one year since the financial scandal has rocked Malaysia with Prime Minister Najib Razak standing taller than despite an an avalanche of investigations, outmanoeuvering opponents, and boosting his control with a pair of recent election wins.
Officials said the strikes began in the last week and were against extremist targets in the southern part of the country.
The poll comes as Australia attempts to rebalance its economy away from a once-in-a-generation mining boom stymied by tumbling commodities prices.
More than 840 others injured after extreme weather conditions battered eastern city of Yangcheng
Driver detained after bus carrying 56 people bursts into flames after crashing into guardrails of highway in central Hunan
Philippine army says 7 sailors abducted earlier this week handed over by kidnap-for-ransom gang to ISIL-linked militants
Blast damages several roadside vending stalls, shatters windows of nearby buildings including a school
Jailed opposition leader says parties must end internal disputes if they are to offer strong alternative to ruling alliance
North Sumatran capital of Medan teaches blind students love of Islamic holy book through braille
The Chinese government has announced it halted a communication channel with Taiwan due to the self-ruled island's refusal to recognise recognise "one China" principle with tensions rising between the two governments.
An increased amount of police has been deployed to majority Buddhist town after mob destroys mosque, religious school and Muslim cemetery
The Shangri La dialogue at the beginning of the month showed a US push towards creating a second Asian flavoured NATO
Mobs of people have burnt down a mosque and looted shops in apparent reprisal for an attack on three Zimbabweans on Tuesday, which left one man dead, while a second man died in hospital on Thursday afternoon.
Former deputy premier and ex-state chief had shared opposition stage to condemn PM and government
Says her new government 'understands we have to create an environment where our people want to return'