The underlying events that led to Chinese former leader Hu Jintao’s reluctant exit on October 22 have become even harder to fathom following the release of new footage.
As a reminder, state broadcaster Xinhua News Agency tweeted that Hu was escorted out because of his ill-health. It said Hu insisted on attending the closing session of the 20th National Congress, but as he felt unwell, officials had to move him to a meeting venue for a rest.
However, the video provided by Channel News Asia offered a somewhat inconsistent depiction. In this footage, more limelight was given to China’s top legislator Li Zhanshu, the person sitting on Hu’s left side.
A confused-looking Hu touched the red document, but Li slid it away and leaned in to talk to him. Hu was still trying to reach the paper until Wang Huning waved his hand over the pair in what seemed like a gesture to stop. Wang is a leading theorist of China’s wolf warrior diplomacy.
On the other side of Hu, his successor, Chinese President Xi Jinping observed the discussion passively. Premier Li Keqiang kept a nonchalant posture. As a staffer came over, Xi briefly talked with the person. Thus, came the scene with Hu being hoisted from his seat.
Hu was then captured still trying to flip through the stack of paper while standing. But the male staff member who held it refused to let him and continued urging him to move. Previous videos showed that the former Chinese leader turned over Xi Jinping’s documents but was held back.
The unexpected moment in a tightly choreographed event gives ample ground for speculation, especially the attendee’s unsurprised bearing. Hu was removed after journalists were allowed inside the hall and did not return afterward.
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