• Former Chinese President Hu Jintao was abruptly escorted out of China’s Party Congress’s closing ceremony.
  • Hu was sitting next to President Xi Jinping on Saturday before he was removed.
  • Footage shows ushers trying to lift Hu out of his seat before leading him out of the Great Hall of the People.

Former Chinese President Hu Jintao was unexpectedly escorted out of the closing ceremony of China’s 20th Party Congress, footage shows.

The 79-year-old, who was president between 2003 and 2013, was sitting next to President Xi Jinping on Saturday before he was led out of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing by two officials.

AFP footage, shared on Twitter, shows an official taking Hu’s glasses and trying to lift him out of his seat. Later in the footage, he can be seen saying something to Xi, who nods in response before being escorted out of the Great Hall of the People by two men.

It is unclear why he was involuntarily removed from the Party Congress closing ceremony, which takes place in Beijing every five years. China has offered no explanation, per BBC News. The dramatic moment is not being reported on in China, per CNN.

Stephen McDonell, BBC’s China correspondent, suggested that the two most likely reasons are “China’s power politics on full-display” or because Hu has serious health problems.

Hu was escorted out shortly after voting had concluded for the new ruling Central Committee, the Communist Party’s main leadership body, Sky News reported. Xi was elected to the committee, paving the way for a third term, while several top leaders — including Premier Li Keqiang — were dropped, per The Week.

It is also notable that Hu appeared frail and unsteady at last week’s opening ceremony, according to Sky News.

Most of the closing ceremony took place behind closed doors, but cameras and reporters were allowed in for the final portion. It was shortly after cameras had been set up that Hu was ushered out, per BBC News.

The event, attended by more than 2,300 deelegates is meticulous stage management, according to Reuters.