The Straits Times
Published on Nov 11, 2012

China's ex-president overshadows party congress, transition


HONG KONG/BEIJING (REUTERS) - As China's Communist Party opened its 18th Congress in Beijing, outgoing President and party chief Hu Jintao was the first senior leader to enter the Great Hall of the People, greeted by thunderous applause from over 2,000 delegates as he walked to his front-row seat.

Hu was followed closely by a man who hasn't held a formal position of power in China for a decade.

Former president Jiang Zemin, 86, his hair dyed walnut brown, shook hands with other comrades and smiled as he entered ahead of the rest of China's core leadership, including Mr Xi Jinping, the anointed next party general secretary and president.

The procession unambiguously validated Mr Jiang's position at the pinnacle of China's politics, and he has worked assiduously to make sure his influence will be felt throughout the next leadership, which will be unveiled publicly on Thursday.