REPORTING FROM BEIJING – Members of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, 365 of the most powerful people in China, wrapped up a four-day closed-door session Tuesday and announced the 18th National Party Congress would occur in the latter half of 2012.
In a communique, the Central Committee said the National Party Congress would take place "to unite and lead all the Chinese people in building a moderately prosperous society in an all-around way, as well as accelerating the nation's modernization drive.’’
The congress will be the most important transition of power in China in a decade. President Hu Jintao, who will have already served the limit of two five-year terms, is to be succeeded by Xi Jinping, the current vice president. If all goes according to plan, Xi will become secretary-general of the Communist Party next year and take over as president in 2013. Premier Wen Jiabao’s successor looks to be Vice Premier Li Keqiang.
"Obviously, they were talking about personnel to decide on the next generation of leadership," said Jin Zhong, a political analyst based in Hong Kong. “But all the decisions are made internally. There is no transparency."
-- Barbara Demick
Photo: Chinese police officers clear pedestrian walkways near the venue where the Communist Party Central Committee held a four-day session in Beijing ending Tuesday. Credit: Associated Press