Hours after China's top legislature convened a special meeting last week to remove Foreign Minister Qin Gang, photos and mentions of the 57-year-old started disappearing from his former ministry's website.

While some of this information reappeared days later, Qin does not feature on the website's list of "former ministers," and for several more days a search for his name had been turning up: "Sorry, Qin Gang is not found."

In fact, he has not been seen in public for more than a month.