(PatrioticPost.com)- In a startling moment caught on video late last month, former Chinese President Hu Jintao was physically escorted out of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing during the Communist Party Congress and he hasn’t been seen in public since.
In the video clip, the 79-year-old Hu appeared confused as a steward repeatedly attempted to help the man out of his seat. Hu, who was seated beside China’s current leader Xi Jinping, put his hand on a sheet of paper on top of a folder in front of Xi. Xi then put his own hand on the paper. Beijing’s top legislator, Li Zhanshu, who was seated to Hu’s right, gave Hu’s folder to a steward, then wiped his head with a cloth after Hu finally stood up.
The former leader appeared to resist leaving as the stewards escorted him away, even at one point turning back to return to his seat.
No explanation was given for why Hu Jintao was escorted from the Great Hall. News of his unceremonious exit was quickly censored on China’s social media platform Weibo, which barred searches like “escorted away” and “leaving the meeting.” According to Bloomberg, searches on his name returned only posts published before the incident.
And while no official explanation was forthcoming, many believed that Hu’s removal was likely due to President Xi Jinping’s ongoing effort to consolidate his power as he clears the way to ensure he secures a historic third five-year term, making him the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.
Some on social media had suggested that Hu is part of the faction within the Communist Party that objects to Xi remaining in power for another five years.
Meanwhile, Beijing’s official news agency, Xinhua News reported that Hu Jintao left the meeting due to ill health. It claimed Hu had “insisted” on attending the weekend session even though he had been recuperating from an illness.