China's Communist Party staged lavish televised ceremonies last weekend to celebrate its 90th birthday, featuring flashy dance numbers, patriotic songs, and hours of solemn speeches. But many couldn't help notice one key element was missing: Where was former president Jiang Zemin?
The 84 year old leader has only made a handful of appearances on the national stage since he stepped down from his roles as China's President in 2003 and as Chairman of the Chinese military in 2004. But his unexpected absence at the anniversary festivities raised eyebrows among Party watchers.
Rumors emerged on Chinese websites soon after the 90th anniversary TV specials ended. But within a day, they were wiped away by government censors.