China’s former supreme leader, Hu Jintao, was unexpectedly and without explanation removed from the closing ceremony of an important Communist Party conference in Beijing, raising questions in what is usually a highly choreographed event.
According to clips from the 20th National Congress on Oct. 22, the visibly frail 79-year-old was in the front row to the left of his immediate successor, Xi Jinping, when staff approached him. was sitting
It was clear that Hu was reluctant to resign.
A staff member in a dark suit and surgical mask took Fu’s glasses first. As Xi watched, he placed his hands under his Hu’s armpits and tried to lift his Hu from his seat.
When another high-ranking official arrived to take Hu away, the man took Hu’s red folder. Looking confused, Fu returned to his seat at one point. He exchanged a few words with President Xi and patted Premier Li Keqiang, who was seated to the right of President Xi, on the shoulder. The two nodded back.
The entire episode lasted several minutes in front of over 2,000 people in attendance. That was just as international journalists entered the hall to cover the twice-decade event in which Xi Jinping is poised to break away from party tradition and secure a third term.
It is unclear how Hu was removed from the room. On the first day of the week-long conference, President Hu appeared uneasy as he took the stage with the help of a young aide.
On Saturday, on Hu’s left side, the scene unfolded as senior player Li Zhanshu wiped the sweat from his forehead. He put away his suit and got up to help Hu, only to be pulled back by a quick tug from Wang Huning, the party’s ideological emperor who sat next to him.
As we sat down, Fu momentarily reached for Xi’s file, which lay between the two on the table. Xi put his hand on the document and held it down. The staff quickly removed the ex-leader’s arm from the table and tried to get him to his feet again. No one in the front row was shaken when Fu passed from behind towards the exit.
No trace of the incident was left on Weibo like China’s Twitter by Saturday night.State media reports did not include the scene. As the issue gained the attention of the West, the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece, the Xinhua News Agency, reported that its reporter said, “Despite the fact that Hu Jintao has recently taken his time to recover, the party’s 20th I learned that you insisted on attending the closing ceremony of the National Congress.”
“When he wasn’t feeling well during the session, his staff took him to a room next to the meeting venue for a break in the interest of his health. Now he’s much better.” I am,” he said on Twitter, which is inaccessible in China.
But some analysts see elements of a power play in Hu’s sudden resignation.
“Xi Jinping is trying to keep Hu Jintao secret about the outcome of the vote by expelling Hu Jintao early,” exiled Chinese dissident Wang Juntao told the Epoch Times. “They effectively dragged him out.”
The last thing Hu saw at the meeting was a vote to elect the party’s new 205-member Central Committee. Of his 25 key executives on the previous leadership team, only 12 will remain in power. Neither the prime minister, the successor to Hu, who was once seen as a possible successor to the party, nor the head of the state ceremonial legislature, Li Zhanshu, were on the list.
Officials have amended the party’s charter in Hu’s absence to add language that many analysts believe will elevate Xi’s status.
Feng Chongyi, a professor of Chinese studies at the University of Technology Sydney and an outspoken critic of the Chinese Communist Party, believes Hu wanted to get out of the way as Xi moves to consolidate power.
He noted that during Hu’s first term in office in 2006, central Chinese authorities issued a rule banning Chinese officials, including the supreme leader, from remaining in the same position for more than two terms. This rule is not in the current party charter.
“You can take this document out and confront Xi. This is the party’s rule. Why don’t you follow it?” Feng said.
During Xi’s speech at the opening ceremony of the conference, which lasted just under two hours, the delegation applauded more than 30 times. Mr. Hu showed little enthusiasm for participating in the applause. When Xi finished his speech and bowed his head, he was the only one with his hands folded in front of him.
Luo Ya contributed to this report.