Hu Jintao, 79, former leader of China and predecessor of Xi Jinping, was unexpectedly withdrawn from the closing ceremony of the Communist Party Congress, held on Saturday (22).
He was seated to the left of the Asian country’s current leader when he was led out of the main auditorium of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing by two security guards. Video from the AFP news agency shows a security guard trying to lift Hu out of his chair, drawing the eyes of authorities around.
Hu resists leaving the scene, while helpers try to escort him. At one point, he tries to grab documents that appear to belong to Xi, who holds them up. Hu still tries to sit down again, without success, and, on the way out, exchanges words with Xi and leans on the shoulder of the current premier, Li Keqiang.
The record of the case, unusual given the meticulous organization of such events in China, was widely shared on social media but censored on the country’s heavily controlled platforms.
State media coverage of the ceremony did not include the scene, which took place as journalists entered the auditorium. The congress, which takes place every five years, concluded with amendments to the party’s constitution that consolidate Xi’s central status and political thinking in the party.
Authorities did not provide an explanation for the incident or respond to inquiries from AFP.
“Whether deliberate or not, or because he wasn’t doing well, the effect is the same. Total humiliation for the last generation of leaders before Xi,” posted British analyst Alex White, who lived in China.
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