An expert on China says big rumors currently spreading inside and outside China are untrue, but are very significant and could imply some serious things are happening in the country's political sphere.
Rumors about a coup in China and of Chinese President Xi Jinping being placed on house arrest spread on the internet over the weekend.
The leader of the Chinese Communist Party even became one of the top trending topics on Twitter, along with the phrase #ChinaCoup, as rumors of him being overthrown by the China People's Liberation Army (PLA) spread among tens of thousands of netizens, Newsweek reported.
The rumor was fueled even further by Indian politician Subramanian Swamy who, on Saturday, tweeted about the unverified claims to his 10 million followers.
"New rumor to be checked out: Is Xi Jinping [sic] under house arrest in Beijing? When Xi was in Samarkand recently, the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party were supposed to have removed Xi from the Party's in-charge of Army. Then House arrest followed. So goes the rumor," Swamy tweeted.
Another rumor related to this is that Li Qiaoming, a general for the PLA, has taken Xi's place as the country's leader. Li is a member of the CCP's central committee.
Among those who have declared the coup rumor to be untrue is Gordon Chang, an expert on China.
Chang, author of "The Coming Collapse of China," explained in a tweet that while there's some proof that the rumors about the supposed coup are not true, there appears to be something happening in China.
Chang noted that the lack of news from China seems to indicate that the coup didn't really happen. He noted, however, that the things that happened to the Chinese military in recent days indicate there's some "turbulence" particularly inside the CCP's senior leadership.
The China expert pointed out that the "unexpected events" happened right after Xi returned from Uzbekistan and stayed out of the public eye for days, which is "something unusual for him."
Chang also pointed out that some "abnormal" and "unusual" events recently happened in China, including the country's decision to cancel more than half of all flights in and out of Beijing, as well as the suspension of travel via high-speed train.
The expert said that while he doesn't believe a coup actually happened, he believes there have been some "extremely troubling developments" at the senior leadership of the PLA. And since the PLA reports to the CCP, "something is terribly wrong," he noted.