Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 10:21 pm
In the rarefied air of China's leadership circle, anything that strays from strict protocol becomes grist for the rumor mill.
So it is with the mysterious and sudden disappearance of Xi Jinping, the presumptive heir to President Hu Jintao.
Xi, 59, has inexplicably missed a series of important meetings with foreign dignitaries in the past week, including one with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Beijing. The last time anyone saw him in public was Sept. 1.
To get security clearance for jobs in the military or the government, applicants must say whether they've undergone counseling in recent years. Some experts say this question — known as Question 21 — is discouraging people from applying for jobs or from getting help.
Jennifer Norris was a devoted member of the Maine National Guard.
"I was ecstatic. I absolutely loved serving in the military," she says.
Norris still wanted a career in the Guard even after she was sexually assaulted by other members of the military. After she was raped, she says she got psychological counseling.
But then it came time to renew the security clearance she needed for her job as a satellite communications technician. One question on the form — Question 21 — asked whether she'd sought help from a mental health professional over the past seven years.