London, Jul 28 (ANI): Wan Wuyi (58), the head of China's domestic news service, has gone missing during a trip to Britain amid speculation that he has defected. Wan, who had worked at the state news agency Xinhua for the past eight years, presiding over the domestic propaganda arm of the Communist Party, disappeared after being sent to complete a training course at Oxford University.
However, speculation is growing that he has escaped to the UK, in what would be one of the most senior defections ever, The Telegraph reports.
Wan is said to have gone missing after telling colleagues he was suffering a bad back so would have to delay his flight home after finishing the training last month.
Rumours on the Chinese Internet suggested that Wan might have decided to flee after his reporting landed him on the wrong side of Chinese leaders.
There were also claims he may have been under investigation for corruption. Wan's wife is said to have already emigrated to the UK, The Telegraph reports.
A retired senior editor at Xinhua in Beijing told Mirrorbooks, a Chinese website operating out of New York, that Wan had split from his colleagues during the visit.
"He went to the UK with a delegation from the Organisation Department. He complained he was suffering from a relapse of a back problem and that he could not walk. The delegation left him and he changed to a cheaper hotel," said the source.
A spokesman for Xinhua refused to confirm or deny whether Wan had defected. "We do not know the situation clearly. You should keep an eye on the news," he said. (ANI)