Former Chinese President Hu Jintao unexpectedly led out of Communist Party congress as leader Xi Jinping looks on

Former Chinese President Hu Jintao was unexpectedly removed from Saturday’s closing ceremony of Congress of the Communist Party in a dramatic moment that disrupted the highly choreographed event. State media said late Saturday that Hu was “not feeling well” when he was escorted out, but was doing “much better” after getting some rest.

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The frail-looking 79-year-old appeared reluctant to leave the front row of the proceedings at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, where he sat next to the president. Xi Jinping.

A steward tried to grab a seated Hu by the arm before being shaken. The steward then tried to pick Hu up with both hands from under his armpits.

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After an exchange of about a minute, in which Hu spoke briefly with Xi and Premier Li Keqiang, he was led out of the hall.

A seated Xi was filmed holding papers on his desk as Hu tried to grab them.

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Hu patted Li on the shoulder as he left, while most of his colleagues stared steadfastly ahead.

Former Chinese President Hu Jintao leaves his seat with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang during the closing ceremony of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Oct.
Former Chinese President Hu Jintao leaves his seat next to Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang during the closing ceremony of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 22 October 2022.

Reuters/Tingshu Wang


Later, the state news agency Xinhua SAPS on Twitter: “Xinhuanet reporter Liu Jiawen learned that Hu Jintao insisted on attending the closing session…despite taking time off to recuperate recently.

“When he was not feeling well during the session, his staff, for his health, accompanied him to a room near the meeting place to rest. Now, he is much better,” Xinhua. SAPS.

The week-long congress was mostly held behind closed doors, but Hu’s departure came shortly after journalists were allowed to cover the closing ceremony.

Hu’s exit came just before the 2,300 delegates at the congress voted unanimously to back Xi’s “core” leadership position.

“The politics of full power,” Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group consulting firm, he said on Twitter with a video showing Hu’s departure.

Neil Thomas, a senior China analyst at Eurasia Group, said the incident could have followed opposition to Xi “or simply an unfortunately timed senior moment”.

“Whether it was intentional or malicious, the effect is the same. Complete humiliation for the last generation of pre-Xi leadership,” he posted on Twitter analyst Alex White.

Search results for “Hu Jintao” on the Chinese Twitter-like platform Weibo appeared to be heavily censored on Saturday afternoon, with the latest result dated Friday and posts limited to official accounts.

Xi is almost certain to be officially announced on Sunday as the party’s general secretary for another five years.

This will allow him to reach a third term as China’s president, to be announced during the government’s annual legislative sessions in March.

Since taking over from Hu a decade ago, Xi has become China’s most authoritarian leader since Mao Zedong.

Xi has crushed opposition to his leadership within the party, with many of his rivals jailed on corruption charges, and has shown no tolerance for any form of public dissent.



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