China's retired leaders make rare appearances at 18th congress
BEIJING - China's retired leaders are rarely seen in public attending formal events so as not to undermine their successors, but the Communist Party's national congress starting today is one of the exceptions.
Spotted at the opening ceremony of the 18th Party Congress are a bevy of past leaders such as former president Jiang Zemin, ex-premier Li Peng and former vice-president Zeng Qinghong.
Attending the week-long, five-yearly event as "special delegates", the former leaders are also given special treatment, taking front-row seats alongside the China's current top leadership like outgoing party chief Hu Jintao.
As with past practices, Mr Jiang was even accorded a spot in the limelight as he walked a step behind Mr Hu as they opened the congress officially and shook hands with other party cadres seated on the stage in the cavernous Great Hall of the People in Beijing.