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7 more politicians who mysteriously disappeared

Xi Jinping is hardly the only world leader to have gone mysteriously missing.

China xi jinping 2012 02 15Enlarge
China's Vice President and presumed future president, Xi Jinping, listens to remarks by US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at an event for business leaders in Washington on Wednesday. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

China's presumed new president Xi Jinping has been off the radar since the beginning of September, kicking the rumor mill into overdrive as many wonder: where is he? 

But Jinping is not the first world leader to seemingly, well, drop off the face of the earth. Here, we take a look at 7 other MIA politicians ... some of whom have yet to resurface. 

More from GlobalPost: Xi Jinping, China’s presumptive new president, is mysteriously absent (GRAPHIC)

1. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

In June 2011, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's almost month-long disappearance sparked serious concerns about his health, Business Insider reported. The South American leader's absence from the public sphere following a pelvic surgery in Havana was even more unnerving because of how public he usually is — Chavez is known for giving frequent television appearances and being active on Twitter.

He and his government quelled the public's fears by releasing photos of Chavez taking a walk with Fidel Castro in Cuba, according to Reuters. He also tweeted at the end of June. 

Maybe Jinping should start a Twitter account? 

2. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford 

On June 18, 2009, the South Carolina politician left his mansion and proceeded to drop off the radar for four days. Despite assurances from his wife that he was just "writing something and wanted space from the kids," and a later excuse from his office that he was off "hiking the Appalachian trail," the truth came out during a press conference upon his return, Talking Points Memo reported.  

“I’ve been unfaithful to my wife … with a dear, dear friend from Argentina,” Sanford admitted. 

Ah, we see. So THAT's what "hiking the Appalachian trail" means. 

Even better (or worse): Sanford staged a repeat of his disappearing act almost exactly a year later. 

Sanford's spokesman Ben Fox told The State Newspaper, which covers South Carolina's capitol, that Sanford was on "personal time" in 2010, but declined to say where the governor was. He resurfaced at a party for his successor just in time to give his by-then ex-wife Jenny Sanford an awkward kiss on the cheek.

A real-life political Houdini. 

3. House Majority Leader Hale Boggs and Representative Nick Begich 

The political establishment of the United States was rocked in October 1972, when then-US House of Representatives Majority Leader Thomas Hale Boggs and United States Representative Nicholas Begich boarded an airplane in Anchorage, Alaska and headed to Juneau for a campaign fundraiser for Begich. The two democrats' plane disappeared in stormy weather, the Washington Post reported

Coast Guard, Navy, and Airforce planes launched into the Alaskan wilderness in the state's largest-ever search for the politicians, but called off the expedition after 39 days, Listverse reported. Neither bodies nor the plane wreckage were ever found, prompting conspiracy theories that Boggs was killed to stop him from investigating JFK's assassination, since he had dissented with the single-bullet theory agreed on by the majority of the Warren commission. 

"It made me question my government," Peggy Begich told the Post of the handling of the disappearance. "I have to question if things were followed up as they should have been."

4. Syrian Vice President Farouk Al-Sharaa

Syria's vice president set off his own set of rumors last month when he disappeared after the funeral of four Syrian officials who were killed in an explosion in Damascus, NBC News reported.

Many believed his absence meant he'd defected to Jordan, though both the Syrian and Jordanian governments denied it. Al-Sharaa's office issued a statement saying that the VP "has never at any moment thought of leaving the homeland to whatever direction."

On August 26, reporters saw Al-Sharaa leave his car and head to his office for a meeting. If only Jinping could make it to one of those. 

5. Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa

In July 1975, esteemed labor leader Jimmy Hoffa was waiting impatiently outside Machus Red Fox Restaurant in Bloomfield Township, Michigan for a meeting with mobster Jack Giacalone and New Jersey labor leader Anthony Tony Pro Provenzano when he was scooped up in a maroon Mercury Marquis and never seen again, Crime Library reported.

The FBI speculated that Hoffa's disappearance was connected to the leader's intentions to run for high office in the labor union again, though he'd been released from jail by Nixon under the condition he not do so, CNN reported. It may have also had to do with the mob's control of union pension funds.

Though the motives appear clear, the rest of Hoffa's disappearance remains just as mysterious as it was the day he went missing. 

6. Shi'a leader Musa al-Sadr

The enigmatic Lebanese Imam disappeared after a scheduled meeting with Libya's then-leader Muammar Gaddafi in August of 1978. He was known for transcending religious divides and advocating for development and social justice reform in the region, founding the Movement of the Deprived in 1974, Al Jazeera reported

Al-Sadr's sudden disappearance led many to speculate that Gaddafi had ordered the Muslim leader's death, and in 2011, Ahmed Ramadan, a member of Gaddafi's entourage, confirmed that the Libyan dictator had killed al-Sadr, Naharnet reported

"I bear witness that (Sadr) came ... he arrived in Libya," Ramadan said. After a two-and-a-half hour meeting, two officials reportedly took al-Sadr and his companions, Sheikh Muhammad Yaacoub and journalist Abbas Badreddine, and "100 percent, what we heard is that he was liquidated," said Ramadan.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/120911/7-more-politicians-who-mysteriously-disappeared