The BBC's October 22(?), 2022 Hu Jintao: The mysterious exit of China's former leader from party congress begins:

There are a lot of questions and no answers so far from the Chinese government.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported that Mr Hu was escorted from the chamber after feeling unwell.

But Mr Hu, 79, appeared reluctant to move. If that is the case, why?

What did he say to the man who replaced him, Xi Jinping, which prompted a nod from China's current leader? And what did he say to his protégé, Li Keqiang, as he tapped him on the shoulder before being ushered off stage?

This AP News photo from The West's October 23, 2022 Questions as China's former leader removed seems to me that it would speak volumes to anyone in China watching this on TV if it was broadcast as such.

Description of image for visually impaired: Hu - a party elder, former party general secretary, president, chairman of the Central Military Commission and member of the CCP Politburo Standing Committee and seated next to Xi was suddenly and unceremoniously escorted physically and reluctantly out of his seat and the room during this historic event. To me he looks surprised and frustrated towards Xi, who looks directly back at him with his typical composed expression.

I'm not asking about statements later, especially not those made internationally. I'm only asking about the optics presented to the greater Chinese citizenry. To that end I'll ask:

Question: How much of Hu Jintao's being escorted out of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing during the Communist Party Congress was seen by Chinese at home? Was it live? Did they see it close up as seen internationally?

The removal of former Chinese president Hu Jintao (centre) has sparked a flurry of questions. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

The removal of former Chinese president Hu Jintao (centre) has sparked a flurry of questions. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP


2 Answers 2


This video cannot be viewed in China (it is already blocked on most social media). I didn't watch the live stream, so I'm not sure if this part was streamed, but since the conference live stream was intentionally set up with a minute or so delay, I'm guessing it wasn't. The video was first shot by an AFP reporter, and it happened just as foreign journalists were allowed to enter the venue to film. Not many people in China have seen this video. In fact, not many people in China even discussed the meeting (because it is dangerous in China).

Edit 1st:

Let's talk about some funny details.

There are two main views on the Internet about Hu's departure:

  1. Hu left because of health problems.
  2. Hu was driven out by Xi Jinping.

I prefer the second reason. For the first view, I do not agree. Because the party is very strict about the medical examination of such senior officials, if he is not fit to attend, then he will not show up in the first place. And even if there is a real health problem, the leader will still insist on such occasions. For example, at the last Chinese military parade, Jiang Zemin had a sudden health problem that prevented him from standing up, but he did not leave the stage. That's why I don't think the first point is true. From the second view, the possible explanation is that Xi cheated Hu and was discovered by Hu. Hu tried to take the document before leaving the scene but was prevented from doing so. Li Zhanshu, who was on the sidelines, tried to get up to stop Hu from being taken away but was held down by Wang Huning, who was on the sidelines.

A piece of strong evidence is the list of documents photographed by journalists:

The following picture is a reporter photographed the bodyguard leaving the scene when the hands of the list of documents, although the picture is very blurred, we can still see this list of the second person's name is three words, in fact, the second person on the published list is Li Qiang, two words. This means that the list in Hu's hand and the actual list are not the same.


The whole video

It is worth noting that Li Zhanshu has always been a hardcore Xi faction and was promoted by Xi, but this time he was also kicked out of the core of power by Xi. It is also interesting to see what happened in between.

It has been pointed out that my answer lacks evidence, and it is well known that much of the information in China is inaccessible, I will do my best to provide evidence, but please remember that you have the right to disbelieve my opinion. At the same time, it was pointed out that I have a biased view of China, to which I responded: you have no reason to think you know more about China than a Chinese person, and if you think China is good, it is only because you cannot see the many inhuman sufferings in the land of China.

  • 1
    Even if the exiting wasn't shown, I wonder what they did with the empty seat afterward. Did everyone move down one seat to fill it up? Oct 23, 2022 at 23:37
  • 16
    @uhoh Nope. The seat keeps empty. Media were required to reset a good angle to take videos and photos to avoid shooting the empty seat. Oct 24, 2022 at 0:24
  • 3
    The edit doesn't improve this answer, in fact it diminishes it. Try to answer the actual question asked, and not include gratuitous or polemical material. Oct 25, 2022 at 13:15
  • 3
    This latest BBC article gives some support to this answer bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-63384608 : The official Xinhua news agency later tweeted that Mr Hu had been escorted from the chamber after feeling unwell - but it did not report that domestically. Twitter is blocked to users in China. Oct 25, 2022 at 20:49

This footage could be viewed in China, but was not reported on prominently by the Chinese media. I'm not aware of any difference between the footage broadcast within and outside China. I also don't know if it was broadcast live, although it is perhaps worth noting that it's not uncommon, in many countries, for "live" events to be broadcast with a short delay, so that the broadcaster can cut the feed.

As a parenthetical note, your interpretation of the footage reminds me of the Kuleshov Effect: people will infer different emotions from someone's face, depending on the perceived context. I have spoken to Chinese people whose analysis differed markedly from yours.

  • 7
    I understand "I'm not aware..." & "I also don't know...", but is there some way to support "This footage could be viewed in China..."? How can we know this is true? Thanks! Oct 23, 2022 at 22:34
  • 3
    "I have spoken to Chinese people..." Given the situation and that you are reporting their words to the internet, to what extent can we assume they were forthcoming to you with their true thoughts and feelings vs simply repeating the official view? Oct 23, 2022 at 23:40
  • 11
    "I have spoken to Chinese people whose analysis differed markedly from yours" - care to elaborate?
    – komodosp
    Oct 24, 2022 at 9:04
  • 4
    @uhoh How can we know anything is true? But more seriously, it tends to be quite difficult to provide good sources for censorship within China, especially in relation to specific events. It's not as if anyone has published a peer-reviewed academic paper on this. I note that you didn't ask the same thing of Allonsy Jia, although their answer is equally lacking in sources. Oct 24, 2022 at 9:57
  • 1
    @uhoh Since they have also expressed opinions in opposition to Chinese government policy in the past, it seems unlikely they are just repeating the official view. But perhaps I'm being taken in by a "long con". Perhaps they have carefully cultivated a friendship with me over many years, just waiting for the moment when they could feed me disinformation about their own opinion on the 20th National Congress so that I would report it on a relatively obscure website. Oct 24, 2022 at 10:02

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