China's communist elite are meeting to install a new generation of leaders in a process that is part public show and part backroom politicking.
At the center of the spectacle is the Communist Party congress, a gathering held once every five years that is the 18th such event in the party's history. The congress is more interlude than climax. Important decisions are made by current and retired leaders, some of whom are not even on the congress delegates' roster, in bargaining that began years ago and has largely been already resolved.
Here's a look at how it works: