Key Chinese Communist Party congress to start Oct. 18

Aug 31, 2017

China says a key Communist Party meeting held once every five years will begin on Oct. 18

BEIJING — A key Chinese Communist Party meeting held once every five years will start on Oct. 18, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.

It marks the formal countdown to the meeting at which President Xi Jinping will begin his second five-year term as head of the ruling party.

The 19th National Party Congress will also see the selection of new members of key bodies, including the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee that Xi is expected to pack with allies to the detriment of rival factions. The congress typically runs for about 10 days.

Xi has emerged as China's most powerful leader in decades, dominating the party, government, military and state economy. The congress will also be scrutinized for signs that Xi intends to remain beyond the 10-year terms served by his predecessor, the most telling of which would be the failure of a clear successor to emerge.

Xi is also expected to further cement his authority by having his thoughts on political theory written into the party constitution.

The congress will also offer an opportunity to reinvigorate Xi's campaign against corruption that has been his signature political achievement, alongside a muscular foreign policy and efforts to shore up the party's presence and influence in the economy and society, including among academia and the vibrant online sector.