China Communist Party prepares for a change of leadership

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China Communist Party prepares for a change of leadership

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In stark contrast to the US election hullabaloo, delegates have been arriving quietly for China’s Communist Party Congress in Beijing.

The seven day event beginning on Thursday will introduce a new generation of Chinese leaders ahead of a changeover in March.

The meeting comes after the corruption scandal surrounding the party’s rising star Bo Xilai and his wife who was jailed in August for the murder of a British businessman.

Ahead of the Congress, spokesman Cai Mingzhao told reporters that leaders had learned a “profound lesson” from the case:

“When we conduct structural reform in China, we have to take into consideration our national reality. We have to unswervingly stick to the right path blazed by the party and the people in their long-term practice. We should never be intimidated by any risks, nor be confused by any distractions.”

Sources say 10 main candidates are vying for seven seats on the next Politburo Standing Committee.

Xi JinPing and his new deputy Li Keqiang are expected to take over the party positions of current president Hu Jin Tao and premier Wen Jia Bao. Xi is due to formally become Chinese president next year.

Security has been tightened around the Great Hall of the People and Tiananmen Square ahead of the Congress.

The nearly 2,300 delegates are also set to discuss how best to reform China’s export-led economy.