He Guoqiang, a former top government leader whose son is being investigated by authorities, made a rare public appearance on Wednesday.
He visited a Confucius school in Guiyang in Guizhou province. The visit echoed an earlier one by President Xi Jinping to a Confucius institute in Shandong province in November.
Top leaders in the Communist Party, including Xi, sanctioned a corruption investigation into He's eldest son, He Jintao , the South China Morning Post reported last month.
Four separate sources told the Post that the senior He had not been implicated in the case.
He Guoqiang, 70, was formerly head of the party's anti-corruption commission and a member of the elite, nine-man Politburo Standing Committee under general secretary Hu Jintao .
Retired government leaders rarely appear in public, but a series of former top officials have returned to the spotlight in recent months.
"One thing we can say for sure is that He Guoqiang's appearance, together with other retired leaders, must be approved by the top leadership," said Zhang Ming , political science professor at Renmin University in Beijing.
The president had been briefed on the corruption investigation into Song Lin , the former chairman of the state-run conglomerate China Resources.
He Jintao is said to have played a part in the case and sources told the Post the president had told officials to get to the bottom of the matter.
He Guoqiang toured the school campus on Wednesday and watched students demonstrate traditional Chinese arts include painting and calligraphy, the school's website said. He was accompanied by Guizhou's party chief Zhao Kezhi .
During the visit He spoke highly of the school for its devotion in promoting traditional Chinese culture.
Phone calls to the school went unanswered yesterday.
He Guoqiang had last appeared publicly at an alumni event at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology in September. In January, He published a book, a compilation of his speeches and essays from his tenure as head of the anti-corruption commission.
Retired party leaders who have reappeared in public over the past months, include former president Jiang Zemin , his successor Hu Jintao and former vice-president Zeng Qinghong.
Analysts have suggested the appearances may be a way to voice support for the current state leadership or to offer comfort to former allies, some of whom were said to be targets of President Xi's anti-corruption campaign.