BEIJING — Chinese leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping reappeared in public Saturday and made an impromptu speech following a two-week absence that had sparked rumors about his health and raised questions about the stability of the country's succession process.
State media said Xi toured exhibits at China Agricultural University in Beijing commemorating National Science Popularization Day, but offered no explanation of why he had dropped from sight.
Photos posted on the government's official website showed Xi walking in the sunshine dressed casually in an open-necked shirt and black wind breaker. Another photo showed him smiling as he looked at potted plants, showing no sign of disability or ill health.
Xi had not been seen publicly since Sept. 1. Since then, he has canceled meetings with visiting foreign dignitaries including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
Anti-Japanese protests flared in more than a dozen cities across China on Saturday, McClatchy Newspapers reported.
The Japanese government bought three uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that are part of a contested chain at the heart of a territorial dispute between China and Japan.