Beijing, Oct 25, 2022 – A new video of Hu Jintao preceding his unexpected removal from the closing ceremony of the ruling Communist Party’s congress Saturday has fuelled speculation that the former Chinese president may have taken issue with certain documents.
Video circulating on Twitter and elsewhere starts a little earlier than previously released footage. It shows Hu going to look at the contents of a red folder in front of him, only to be stopped by Li Zhanshu, then the Politburo Standing Committee’s outgoing No 3 member, who pulls the folder away. Hu later reaches for papers in front of Xi, who does not appear to respond.
The folders were in front of leaders and party elders seated at the front table when reporters entered the venue. While the contents are unknown, they may have contained material related to resolutions at the ceremony. The steward who escorted Hu out of the room took Hu’s folder with him.
It has also been suggested that Hu was physically unwell – the explanation given by the state-run Xinhua News Agency – or that there were tensions between Hu and Xi.
Authorities have clamped down tightly on information about the incident, and footage is difficult for residents of mainland China to access.
With the start of Xi’s third term as party leader Sunday, members of Hu’s Communist Youth League faction were excluded from the party’s upper echelons.
Premier Li Keqiang was dropped from the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, the party’s top decision-making body. Vice-premier Hu Chunhua, once seen as a potential candidate for the Standing Committee, did not even make it into the 24-member Politburo.