After years working in the world of diplomacy, I have developed an ability to read the real meaning and intentions behind world leaders’ remarks — especially those of dictators in authoritarian states where secrecy is rampant. (Although I do take full responsibility for any errors or mistranslations, of course.)

Two weeks ago, I wrote that Chinese President Xi Jinping's absence from the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi was due to internal and external troubles that prevented him from attending. China's economy continues to stagnate due to factors such as a sluggish real estate market, lack of consumer spending and excessive debt which are, unfortunately, caused by socio-political rather than economic forces.

In May, Xi wrote a letter to the students of China Agricultural University, stating: "Only when you enter rural China will you learn what it means to ‘seek truth based on facts’ and how to unite with the masses. Hard work is worth it and the Chinese youth of the new era should naturally possess such a spirit.”