China’s former president Jiang Zemin, who has largely shunned the spotlight in recent years, made two appearances in public in the past few days, according to images published online.
Photos and video clips, which appeared to be taken with mobile devices, intrigued many internet users who have seen little recently of the former leader.
Jiang, 87, was first photographed touring the Slender West Lake in Yangzhou on a boat with his wife Wang Yeping, according to online photos apparently taken on Sunday. The couple, both Yangzhou natives, made a similar visit to the city last year, according to Chinese media reports.
Watch: China's former president Jiang Zemin makes rare public appearance in Shanghai
In a fresh video clip that was shared online on Wednesday, Jiang was seen leaving a nondescript residential building, apparently in Shanghai, while escorted by plainclothes bodyguards. The clip was taken around dusk on Monday, according to online accounts.
He was visiting a cousin and spent 20 minutes at her home inside the building, said witnesses.
Jiang, wearing a dark-coloured jacket, was seen walking out of the ageing residential building. He was immediately met by bodyguards who had been waiting at the gate and was escorted to a black Mercedes. General You Xigui, Jiang’s personal security chief and a deputy director of the Communst Party's General Office, accompanied him, the accounts said.
Jiang, travelling without his wife, appeared to be in good spirits. He was seen smiling and waving at residents who had gathered around.
Hu Jintao, another former president and the successor of Jiang, also made a rare public appearance this month at a university in Hunan.
Experts believe that Hu’s appearance was an indirect way to voice support for the current state leaders and to offer comfort to former allies, some of whom are said to be targets of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign.