BEIJING (AP) — When China's ranking communists file into the Great Hall of the People, you can spot the invited guests, the retired but still-influential men in their 70s, 80s and even 90s. Most of them no longer dye their hair the requisite jet black of Beijing's working leaders.
These men typically have no official posts anymore, but continue to make their preferences known and work behind the scenes to promote their proteges and allies to top posts on the party's Politburo.
Foremost among them is ex-President Jiang Zemin. An aide helped him to his seat next to outgoing President Hu Jintao at Thursday's opening of a pivotal Communist Party congress. Jiang watched the proceedings through enormous glasses.