A group of retired Communist Party Members have led a petition calling for the resignation of Zhou Yongkang and Liu Yunshan before the once-in-a-decade leadership transition in China.

The petition, signed by 16 retired officials, was a rare sign of open opposition to two of China’s most powerful leaders. Mr. Zhou, head of the Central Political and Legislative Committee, is accused of backing ousted Bo Xilai and abuse of power.

Zhou is also associated with the “stability maintenance” program responsible for censoring and controlling the media. Mr. Bo was the head of Chongqing city-state and advocated old-style Communism. Liu Yunshan is a propaganda official and opposed political change by censoring the media.

Wu Zhibo, 84, one of the signatories, believes that such leaders should not be included in the Politburo. Zhou is believed to have been planning to step down from his post before the end of his term and was scheduled to retire before the leadership transition.