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.
An earthquake measuring 7.9 has hit the east of Nepal, and was felt in India. Those with broken limbs have been taken to hospital and at least 50 people trapped in Kathmadu's 19th century tower.
The 7.9 earthquake earlier on Saturday has triggered an avalanche on Mt Everest
Two Australian drug convicts were notified on Saturday that they will be executed by firing squad in 72 hours at the Indonesian prison island of Nusakambangan, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said.
French photographer Roland Neveu tells of ‘accident of history’ of rise of ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge in 1975.
A Japanese man has been arrested for landing a drone on the prime ministers office in protest of Japan's use of nuclear power
Four fighters who say they work for Iran call on Assad regime and Hezbollah for an exchange of prisoners with Syrian opposition forces.
Human rights activist Sabeen Mahmud was shot dead after leaving a restaurant where she had given a talk about Baluchistan.
The Law and Order Trust Fund of Afghanistan (LOTFA) received over has received around $3.6 billion from international donors since 2002 to pay Afghan police force salaries and other expenses
Adam Gadahn, an American convert to Islam was killed by US attacks near the Afghan border in January of this year.
Taliban fighters have launched rocket attacks on a US base in Kabul and have targeted government buildings in Afghanistan.
Indonesian attorney general’s spokesman confirms reports that his office has sent letters to prosecutors advising them to make preparations ahead of the imminent executions of the Bali 9
The attacks come after deputy PM said ‘violence had decreased substantially’ in the Muslim south.
This is the first time a Chinese warship has warned a Philippine plane on patrol in disputed area in South China Sea, another military official said.
This is third Pakistani visit to Saudi Arabia since Islamabad decided to remain neutral in Saudi-led military offensive in Yemen.
After the meeting with Xi on the sidelines of an Asia-Africa summit in Indonesia, Abe also said the two leaders agreed to contribute to regional stability and prosperity by promoting "mutually beneficial strategic ties"
A ceremony was held in Seoul involving U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert, who continues to recover the full use of his left hand after being attacked with a knife at a local event last month.