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China sets next week for key party meeting, after long gap

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s ruling Communist Party will hold a key meeting of its senior leadership next week after an unusually long delay since the last one, state media said on Thursday, as the country grapples with issues ranging from a slowing economy to unrest in Hong Kong.

Plenums, as they are called, are generally held every autumn, and are an opportunity for the party’s elite to map out policy priorities.

Unexpectedly, however, there was no plenum last autumn, amid speculation in Beijing about disagreements at the top of the party on the direction of the country as a bruising trade war with the United States deepened and the economy decelerated.

The last plenum took place more than a year and a half ago.

State news agency Xinhua said the plenum would be held from Monday to Thursday, and discuss improving governance and “perfecting” the country’s socialist system.

The closed-door meeting in Beijing gathers the ruling party’s Central Committee, which comprises about 370 people and is the largest of its elite bodies.

Once the plenum ends, Xinhua will release a long communique detailing what was decided, typically using dry and turgid party phraseology.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Gerry Doyle)

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