Former Chinese leader Hu Jintao was unexpectedly left out as the Communist Party Congress draws to a close

Hong Kong

Former Chinese Supreme Leader Hu Jintao was unexpectedly escorted out of the closing ceremony of a major meeting of China’s ruling Communist Party on Saturday, according to pictures and videos.

Hu, 79, was sitting prominently at a table in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, next to his successor, current leader Xi Jinping, when a staff member approached him, according to pictures and videos. the meeting

As he sat, Hu appeared to speak briefly with the male worker, while Li Zhanshu, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, sat on the other side with his hand on Hu’s back.

Hu then appeared to stand up with the help of the worker, who wrapped his arm around the former leader, while a second man approached. Hu spoke briefly with the two men and at first appeared eager to leave.

They were then escorted from their seats by two men, one holding his arm as the other members sat behind the head table looked on.

On the way out, Hu appeared to pause and say something to Xi and pat Leader and Premier Li Keqiang on the shoulder, both of whom nodded in agreement. It was not clear if Xi had spoken.

At one point, as Hu stood and argued with the two men before leaving, Li Zhanshu appeared to try to get up from his seat, but a member of the Politburo Standing Committee directed him to his seat with a tug on his suit jacket. Wang Huning, sitting next to him.

Hu, who retired in 2013, has been seen in increasingly frail health in recent years.

His departure had a dramatic moment on the closing day of the National Congress of the Communist Party.

The week-long event, which drew some 2,300 delegates, ended on Saturday with a reshuffle of the party’s elite, roughly 200-member Central Committee and the approval of changes to the Party Constitution, which included several phrases from Xi Jinping. policies and ideology were inscribed.

The closing ceremony is held a day before the new party leader is announced. Xi, who is seen to have consolidated power around himself by eliminating rivals and undermining the enduring power of party bosses, is expected to be re-confirmed as party leader, breaking the two-term rule for the top leader seen in recent decades.