China’s former president Hu Jintao was unexpectedly taken out of the closing ceremony for the ruling Communist Party.
Two stewards led the 79-year old, who was seated to the left of President Xi Jinping off the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
As Mr Xi’s predecessor Mr Hu appeared confused and disoriented as his assistants escorted he out. He did not seem to want to leave, and he returned to his seat at one time.
He greeted Premier Li Keqiang and exchanged words as he walked out.
Last Sunday, Mr Hu was a little unsteady when he was helped onto the same stage as the opening ceremony.
Chinese state media claimed that Mr Hu wasn’t feeling well and was taken out of the session to rest. He later said that he felt “much better”.
Liu Jiawen, a Xinhuanet reporter, claimed that Hu insisted on attending the closing session despite having taken the time to “recover” recently.
Four of the seven members who are not being reappointed by the Politburo Standing Committee on Sunday will be Mr Li, China’s second highest ranking official and chief advocate for economic reforms.
They were not included on the new Central Committee of the Communist Party, which now has 205 members. This was approved at Saturday’s closing session. The Standing Committee can only be served by Central Committee members.
A party constitution amendment was also approved by the congress to further enhance Mr. Xi’s status as China leader.
Although the text of the announcement is still to be released, an announcer gave the reasons behind the announcement and repeatedly mentioned Mr. Xi’s achievements in strengthening both the military and economy as well as reinforcing party authority.
Mr Hu’s exit from the congress was ‘highly unusual’ and very interesting
It is difficult to overstate the importance of these large-scale political events in China.
Hu Jintao’s story is therefore very unusual and fascinating.
It is a curious timing. It occurred just after voting for the new Central Committee had ended (which was done without cameras rolling) and after selected journalists were allowed into the hall.
It would be an extraordinary example of political power play. Despite the fact that Mr Xi has been known to consider Mr Hu weak and despite the fact that they are from different wings within the party, former leaders remain revered.
Could it be that the elderly Hu was unwell and sent out by health reasons?
In his closing remarks, Mr. Xi stated that the revision “sets forth clear requirements for strengthening and upholding the party’s overall leadership.”
The party enshrined Mr Xi’s ideas (known as Xi Jinping Thought) in its charter at the 2017 congress.
It seems almost certain that Mr. Xi will be appointed for a record-breaking third term. This means that he could theoretically become leader in.