Who is Fu Xiaotian? Qin Gang scandal explored as China fires foreign minister

Qin Gang, the former Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister was reportedly involved in an affair with Chinese journalist Fu Xiaotian. (Image via X/xiaotianphoenix/BeijingDai)
Qin Gang, the former Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister was reportedly involved in an affair with Chinese journalist Fu Xiaotian. (Image via X/xiaotianphoenix/BeijingDai)

On Tuesday, September 19, China’s Foreign Affairs Minister Qin Gang was fired from his post, the Wall Street Journal reported. He was ousted on the grounds of having an affair on American soil, which allegedly resulted in a love child.

While the real identity of the woman with whom Qin Gang reportedly had the affair remains unknown, several media outlets, such as the New York Post, speculate that it was Phoenix TV presenter Fu Xiaotian. The duo was often seen together but later disappeared from the public eye around the same time in July 2023.

As per the Post, Qin Gang, who has been holding the foreign ministry office of China since January 2023, has not worked in that capacity since July 2023, when the rumors of the alleged affair first came to the forefront, leading the Chinese Communist Party to conduct an internal investigation.

However, the source cited that Qin Gang’s affair happened sometime between 2021 and early 2023 when he served as the Chinese Ambassador to the USA in Washington, DC. Now, after the completion of the investigation, Qin Gang has been officially sacked from his role as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of China.


Qin Gang’s rumored mistress, Fu Xiaotian, is a renowned Chinese journalist

Fu Xiaotian, who is rumored to be the mistress of recently ousted Chinese foreign affairs minister Qin Gang, is a 40-year-old Chinese journalist, TV host, and producer. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the Beijing Language and Culture University and a diploma in journalism from Peking University. She then moved to England to pursue a master’s degree from Churchill College, affiliated with the University of Cambridge.

Later, she joined the London office of Phoenix TV as a reporter but soon moved to Hong Kong, where she served as the chief correspondent and bureau chief for the media house. In fact, she visited Libya twice during its civil wars as a senior reporter.

Fu Xiaotian rose to fame as the host of a one-on-one political interview show on Phoenix TV called Talk with World Leaders. She ran the 32-minute program between 2014 and 2022.

She interviewed famous political personalities, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, former American President Ronald Reagan, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and ex-Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Interestingly, her final interview on the show was with Chinese diplomat Qin Gang in March 2022.

In 2017, Xiaotian was knighted with the Order of Stella d’Italia (“Star of Italy” in English) by Italian President Sergio Mattarella. As per thedistin.com, her net worth is estimated between $1 and $5 million. Since July 2023, Xiaotian and Qin Gang have been reported to be missing by global media.

Apart from being a journalist, Fu Xiaotian is known to be a philanthropist and an author who has written books such as Talk with World Leaders on China (2017) and Meeting World Leaders (2020).

She also reportedly is a mother to an infant son born in 2022. However, whether the child is Qin Gang’s remains a mystery.

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Qin Gang allegedly had an extramarital affair with Fu Xiaotian

On Tuesday, September 19, various news outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and New York Post reported that Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Qin Gang, who has been reportedly missing since July 2023, was fired from his government role on grounds of “lifestyle issues.”

However, both sources cite that the real reason was that an internal investigation by the Chinese Communist Party revealed that he had an extramarital affair with Chinese journalist Fu Xiaotian. The alleged affair happened between 2021 and 2023 when Gang was the Chinese Ambassador to the United States.

Speculations have it that he fathered a love child during his affair and lived with Fu Xiaotian for 18 months during his tenure in Washington DC. However, both Gang and Xiaotian have disappeared from the public eye since July 2023.

During his short tenure as a foreign affairs minister, Gang was in charge of US-China relations and oversaw events, including the postponed visit from the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to Beijing and the discovery by the American government about an alleged Chinese spy balloon launched into the US airspace.

After the US military shot down the balloon, Gang, on behalf of the Chinese government, denied that it was a spy balloon and passed it as a civilian airship that went off its route.

One of his last acts as the Chinese foreign minister was meeting the US Secretary of State on his rescheduled tour to Beijing in June. After this, he went missing from action, and the Chinese government cited health issues as the reason for his absence from important conferences.

Apart from the Chinese government’s internal investigation, the affair of Qin and Fu grabbed attention when the latter posted an image of her son on Twitter in April alongside a screenshot of her interview with Gang.

Not only that, but she also took to her now-private Instagram account in March to say that her son’s father was not American and that she and him were planning to return to their home country.

Meanwhile, Wang Yi has replaced Qin Gang as China's new foreign affairs minister. An investigation is underway to determine whether the affair affected the country's national security.

Edited by Shreya Das