China will send Vice Premier Liu Yandong to the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang instead of President Xi Jinping.
Liu is the highest-ranking female official in China and has been vice premier in charge of science, technology, education, and culture since Xi took power in 2013.
Liu was promoted to the politburo as only the fifth female member ever in 2007, when President Hu Jintao was in power.
Born in 1945, she retired from the politburo during the 19th Communist Party Congress last year and will step down from the vice premiership in March.
Cai Qi, the Communist Party secretary of Beijing, and Beijing Mayor Chen Jining are expected to attend the opening and closing ceremonies as representatives of the next host city of the Winter Olympics.