Former Chinese president Hu Jintao escorted out of party congress

Former Chinese president Hu Jintao leaves his seat next to Chinese President Xi Jinping during the closing ceremony of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 22, 2022. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

BEIJING (Reuters) -Former Chinese President Hu Jintao, Xi Jinping's immediate predecessor, was unexpectedly escorted out of the closing ceremony of a congress of the ruling Communist Party on Saturday.

Hu, 79, who was seated to the left of Xi, was led off the stage of the main auditorium of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing by two stewards, a Reuters witness at the congress said.

According to videos taken by some journalists at the venue and shared on social media, Hu appeared confused as the stewards escorted him out.

On his way out, Hu exchanged words with Xi and patted Premier Li Keqiang, seated to the right of Xi, on the shoulder.

Hu had appeared slightly unsteady last Sunday when he was assisted onto the same stage for the opening ceremony of the congress.

The once-in-five-years congress concluded with amendments to the party's constitution that cements the core status of Xi and the guiding role of his political thought within the party.

(Reporting by Eduardo Baptista and Ryan Woo; Editing by Robert Birsel and Lincoln Feast)

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