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China Power Transfer 2012: Communist Elite Readies For Party Congress Transition

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CHINA POWER TRANSFER 2012
A man looks back as people gather in front of the screen displaying the words "18th party congress" at Tiananmen Square in Beijing Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. The 18th party congress will start on Nov. 8 in the capital city of Beijing, where Chinese President Hu Jintao and most of the Communist Party leadership will begin to hand over power to younger colleagues in a once-a-decade political transition. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) | AP

BEIJING -- China's ruling communist elite began a closed-door meeting Thursday to finalize preparations for a painstakingly choreographed but still fraught transfer of power to a younger generation of leaders.

The meeting of the policy-setting Central Committee is its last before Communist Party leader Hu Jintao and others in his government begin to cede power to Vice President Xi Jinping and others at a congress that opens Nov. 8.

On the agenda for the committee is approving a policy platform that Hu will deliver at the congress, as well as a report by the party's internal watchdog body, the government's Xinhua News Agency reported.

The Central Committee – comprised of about 370 people from the upper ranks of the party, government and military – is also expected to voice its condemnation of two already purged officials: ex-railway minister Liu Zhijun, who faces corruption charges, and Bo Xilai, the charismatic rising star now accused of a range of misdeeds including covering up his wife's murder of a British businessman.

Bo's ouster earlier this year widened rifts within a leadership that likes to project an image of unity. It also complicated the bargaining over the roster of new leaders.

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