Video Of Hu Jintao Stripped From CCP Congress “Chilling”: Ex-NATO Commander

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis said on Saturday that a video showing former Chinese President Hu Jintao being forcibly removed by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 20th National Congress was “terrifying”.

A video posted to social media showed Hu, who served as China’s president from 2003 to 2013, sitting next to current President Xi Jinping as he was ushered out of the CCP’s closing ceremony on Saturday. The video shows a man repeatedly pulling Hu from his seat, who appears to be trying to grab a piece of paper in front of Xi. However, Xi puts his hand on it.

While Hu was being removed from Congress, he appeared to be exchanging words with the Chinese leader. Much about the situation, including what specifically led to Hu’s deposition, remains unknown.

Many on social media have speculated that Xi may have removed Hu to assert his authority ahead of his expected reconfirmation with the CCP general secretary this weekend.

Stavridis describes Hu distance as "relax"
Above, former Chinese President Hu Jintao is escorted by the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party on Saturday. Former NATO commander James Stavridis described video of his removal as “terrifying” as pundits took to social media to lash out.
Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Stavridis, who served as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Europe from 2009 to 2013, shared his concerns about the video on Twitter.

“Check out this chilling and Orwellian scene,” he tweeted. “Hu gets heave ho. Xi you later Hu.”

Other experts have since commented on the video.

“What on earth is going on when the former leader of #China #HuJintao is told to leave after the first session? Looking at the footage, it looks like he doesn’t want to leave. What does he say about #XiJinping? ‘What does he say to that #LiKeqiang?” tweeted Stephen McDonell, the BBC’s China reporter.

“Considering how carefully this stuff is choreographed in China, it’s very unusual and a major drama as far as Chinese politics is concerned,” tweeted journalist Melissa Chan. “It’s too early to speculate on what the heck just happened. At best, Hu was not doing well.”

The video went viral on Twitter and has been viewed approximately 4 million times. However, Reuters reported that the video was removed from China’s social media platforms, including Weibo, which are censored by the government. According to Reuters, state media did not mention Hu’s removal when covering the ceremony.

The ceremony comes as Xi begins his third term as China’s president, breaking precedents. Experts viewed the ceremony as a consolidation of Xi’s power and legacy, and extended his leadership for another five years. He first rose to his leadership role in 2012 and has spent the past decade solidifying support within the CCP.

It also comes at a turbulent time for China’s international relations. China has found itself as perhaps Russia’s most powerful ally amid Moscow’s struggling invasion of Ukraine. Tensions between China and Taiwan have also flared in recent months, raising concerns of an escalating conflict as the United States pledged to forge closer ties with the disputed island.

news week turned to China’s foreign press office for comment. Video Of Hu Jintao Stripped From CCP Congress “Chilling”: Ex-NATO Commander

Rick Schindler

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