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China Communist Party congress set to start in Beijing


China Communist Party congress set to start in Beijing

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Media captionThe Communist Party's messages are plastered all across Beijing

China's biggest political event, the Communist Party congress, is set to begin in Beijing.

More than 2,000 delegates will be meeting under tight security in the capital.

The closed-door summit, which takes place once every five years, determines who rules China and the country's direction for the next term.

Xi Jinping became China's leader in 2012 and is widely expected to remain as chief of the ruling Communist Party.

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A fresh team of leaders in China's top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee, is expected to be unveiled, as well as a roadmap for China for the next five years.

The congress is expected to finish next week.

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Media captionNo hot air balloons, drones, or Airbnb bookings

Beijing is decked out in welcome banners and festive displays for the congress.

However, the capital is also on high alert. Long lines were seen earlier this week at railway stations due to additional checks at transport hubs.

The congress has also affected businesses, with some restaurants, gyms, nightclubs and karaoke bars reportedly shutting down due to tightened security rules, and room-sharing websites like Airbnb cancelling bookings.

An austerity drive, instituted by Mr Xi, has meant a more pared down congress, with Chinese reports this week of delegates' hotels cutting back on frills such as decorations, free fruit in rooms and lavish meals.

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Image caption Tourists at Tiananmen Square have flocked to take pictures at a decorative display celebrating the congress

Many observers believe Mr Xi will further cement his position within the Party during the congress.

The Party is expected to rewrite its constitution to enshrine his political ideology – thus elevating him to the status of previous Party giants Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

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Since becoming president, Mr Xi has tightened control within the Party, with a wide-reaching corruption crackdown, and also in Chinese society, with increasing censorship and arrests of lawyers and activists.

Under Mr Xi, China's modernisation and reform has also accelerated, as has its assertiveness on the world stage.

He continues to enjoy widespread support among ordinary citizens in China.

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