Xi Jinping's appearance on CCTV marks end to party conclave
General secretary's visit to young athletes in Nanjing signals end to annual meeting of elite
A public appearance by Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping yesterday signalled the end of the annual direction-setting gathering of party elites and elders at the seaside resort of Beidaihe in Hebei.
The Beidaihe meeting has long been the backdrop for informal closed-door talks among the country's leaders and elders to determine the course for major domestic issues.
Footage on China Central Television's prime time news programme Xinwen Lianbo showed a smiling Xi touring the training venue of the Chinese delegation to the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, Jiangsu. Xi is expected to attend the Games' opening ceremony tonight.
Xi urged the young athletes to promote understanding and communication with their counterparts from around the world and to encourage other young people in China to take up sport. "Strong youth lead to a strong county. Strength lies not only in virtue, academic results and the capacity to improve but also in a healthy body and sportsmanship," Xi said.
Vice-Premier and Politburo member Liu Yandong , who is in charge of sport, accompanied Xi yesterday.
Xi's last known public appearance was on July 31, when he visited a military command in Fujian ahead of the anniversary of the establishment of the People's Liberation Army.
The other members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the party's elite inner circle, have also stayed out the limelight since the PLA anniversary on August 1. Premier Li Keqiang was one exception when he briefly visited Ludian county in Yunnan after an earthquake rocked the area, killing at least 617 people. Propaganda chief Liu Yunshan, also met scientists, engineers and other top thinkers on behalf of Xi in Beidaihe on Wednesday last week.
The Beidaihe attendees are believed to have debated domestic issues ahead the annual plenary session of the party's 205-member decision-making Central Committee in October, which will address laws to modernise the government.
The case of Zhou Yongkang is also thought to have been on the agenda after last month's announcement of the official investigation into the former security chief for "serious disciplinary violations" - a euphemism for corruption. Zhou, 71, who retired from the Politburo Standing Committee in 2012, is the most senior Chinese official to have been brought down by corruption in decades.