The CCP’s 20th National Congress is seen as the meeting where Xi Jinping used his re-election to further consolidate and enhance his power. At the closing meeting, former Party leader Hu Jintao was suddenly forced to leave in the middle of the meeting, drawing public attention. Since detailed information is rarely revealed to the public, observers believe that it was Xi’s intention, and Wang Huning was the one who arranged it.
The congress ended on October 22. Hu left in the middle of the meeting and the scene was captured by foreign reporters. Videos spread on the internet and became the focus of international media.
One video shows that at first, a staff member came to say something to Hu as Li Zhanshu, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, sat next to him, placing his hand on Hu’s shoulder. Hu finally got up but didn’t seem to want to leave. Two people continued to signal that Hu was to leave. Hu finally left the meeting, said something as he passed Xi, and patted Premier Li Keqiang on the shoulder.
Outsiders believed that Hu was unwilling to leave the meeting. However, according to the BBC, the English-language Twitter account of Xinhua, the CCP’s official news agency, offered a rare explanation—Hu was feeling unwell during the meeting, and he was taken to another room to rest. “His health is much better now.”
Su Ziyun, director of the Institute of Defense Strategy and Resources at the National Defense Academy of Taiwan, told The Epoch Times on October 23 that the official media had posted on social media that Hu was not in good health, but the video showed that this reason was not true.
Su bluntly said that Hu was “miserable.” He did not want to leave his seat, after being pulled away, he wanted to sit back down, but still was taken out.
Su suspected that this incident was arranged by the CCP to expose to the international community, “First of all, a similar scenario if it was in the past, the CCP would not allow reporters to record. Second, the incident happened after the cameras were in place, the situation was captured very clearly, it is also rare for the CCP to let the video be recorded so clearly.”
As for why the video was released, Su said, it was to clearly demonstrate Xi’s political toughness.
Su said, “The public release of the video was to warn other factions in the Party, even the former chairman who dares to oppose him, will be dragged off ‘stage.’ I think this scenario is to ‘kill the chicken to scare the monkey, stir the mountain to scare the tiger.'”
Su said that the seven new members of the Standing Committee are basically Xi’s faction, plus there is a secretariat to help. Ding Xuexiang is Xi’s secretary in Shanghai, there is also Li Qiang, Xi’s secretary in Zhejiang.
Su said that Xi broke with the previous practice of letting certain factions have people in the squad—this time he showed no mercy. The video showing Hu being humiliated was meant to emphasize Xi securing his personal power for the next five-year term is a top priority.
Hu was once considered Xi’s political ally. When Hu took power, he was politically interfered with by Jiang Zemin. Jiang resigned as general secretary but continued to serve as vice chairman of the Military Commission for two more years, and he also used many of his agents to control Hu’s power. When Xi came to power at the CCP’s 18th National Congress in 2012, Hu resigned from all positions and was praised by Xi. Hu supported Xi’s anti-corruption campaign.
Professor Feng Chongyi at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, told The Epoch Times on October 23, “Look at how much merit Hu Jintao has to Xi, bring him up and also do his best to support Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption, let Jiang Zemin taste the arrow of revenge for daring to look down on Hu for 10 years.”
Commentator Cai Shenkun tweeted on October 23 that Li is the director of the Central Office chosen by Hu. He wanted to stand up and help Hu at the meeting, but was pulled down by Wang sitting next to him.
Cai believed that Wang was the mastermind behind Hu Jintao’s “humiliation.” He wrote, “Wang Huning is the mastermind of this scandal, and the obvious reason that Xi Jinping humiliated Hu Jintao in front of everyone was to “kill chickens to scare monkeys” and to establish absolute power in the Party.”
Wang is a professor at Fudan University in Shanghai. He was brought into the government by Jiang and Zeng Qinghong in the early years. He took control of the Central Office for Policy Studies long ago. After three generations of Jiang, Hu, and Xi, the so-called political theory of these Party leaders is said to have originated with Wang. However, it was not until he met Xi that Wang was admitted to the highest level of the CCP. From the 19th National Congress, to the 20th National Congress, he continued to serve as a Standing Committee member.