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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

Last updated on: November 8, 2012 15:39 IST

INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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China's ruling Communist Party opens a Congress to usher in a new group of younger leaders. Rediff.com's takes a sneak peek inside Beijing's Great Hall of the People, which hosts one of the most-talked about political event, across the globe.

On Thursday, Chinese President Hu Jintao opened the Communist Party Congress, the country's biggest political event in a decade.

The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party, which opened in Beijing, will see a historic shift in top leadership. After a decade in power, Hu is expected to hand over the party's top job to Vice President Xi Jinping.

And at 59, Xi, who has never faced an election, is about to become the most powerful man of the world's most populous nation.

Xi, the Chinese vice president since 2008, is expected to be named general secretary of the Communist Party during its 18th Congress and then president next March, succeeding incumbent Hu Jintao.

More than 2,200 delegates have gathered for the Congress. They will select the 200-plus members of the party's central committee, who in turn appoint the politburo and ultimately the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, dubbed the country's decision-makers. Premier Wen Jiabao and his likely successor, Li Keqiang are also in attendance.

So how did China prep up for the historic a once-a-decade Congress?

With over 2,000 delegates expected to attend the meet the security was dramatically beefed up. The government locked up or forced from Beijing dozens of dissidents it feared could spoil the party.

Even flying of pigeons in the capital was banned, foreign television in five-star hotel gyms were shut and articles were ripped out in international publications.

China's transfer of power has always been secretive and has given rise to uncertainty. This time around the views of the leadership matters now that the country is the world's second-largest economy.

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Image: A general view showing delegates attend the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing
Photographs: Carlos Barria/Reuters

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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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Delegates sit at the stage before the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. China's outgoing President Hu Jintao said the nation faced risk and opportunity in equal measure as he formally opened a congress of the ruling Communist Party that will usher in a once-in-a-decade leadership change.


Photographs: Jason Lee/Reuters

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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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China's President Hu Jintao, former President Jiang Zemin and Premier Wen Jiabao stand at the beginning of the opening ceremony of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.


Photographs: Jason Lee/Reuters

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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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China's former President Jiang Zemin looks up while President Hu Jintao gives his speech during the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.


Photographs: Jason Lee/Reuters

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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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China's Vice President Xi Jinping and top political advisor Jia Qinglin applaud as China's President Hu Jintao walks past after delivering speech at the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.


Photographs: Jason Lee/Reuters

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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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Chinese President Hu Jintao delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Addressing more than 2,000 delegates, Hu said that a failure to tackle corruption "could prove fatal to the party".


Photographs: Jason Lee/Reuters

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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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A man watches a screen showing Chinese President Hu Jintao delivering a speech during the opening ceremony of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at a brokerage house in Taiyuan, Shanxi province.

Chinese shares fell the most in almost two weeks on Thursday, tracking an Asia-wide drop in riskier assets, with energy stocks the biggest losers after oil prices dived 4 percent overnight.

The fall came as Chinese President Hu Jintao vowed reforms to make the currency and interest more market-based, boost overseas investments and plough more state funds into industry as part of plans to keep GDP on track to double in size by 2020, in remarks prepared for delivery at the Communist Party Congress meeting.


Photographs: Jason Lee/Reuters

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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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Military delegates leave the Great Hall of the People, the venue of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, after the opening ceremony, in Beijing.


Photographs: David Gray/Reuters

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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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A security officer stands guard after China's President Hu Jintao's speech at the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.


Photographs: Jason Lee/Reuters

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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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Cai Mingzhao, the spokesman of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, arrives at a news conference ahead of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.


Photographs: China Daily/Reuters

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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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A delegate wearing ethnic minority costume is seen outside the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square after the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing.


Photographs: Carlos Barria/Reuters

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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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An ethnic minority delegate holds a meeting bag with an emblem for the Communist Party of China on it as she leaves the Great Hall of the People, the venue of the 18th National Congress of the CPC, after the opening ceremony, in Beijing.


Photographs: David Gray/Reuters

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Firefighters stand on the Tiananmen Square next to the Great Hall of the People, the venue of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing.


Photographs: David Gray/Reuters

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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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Delegates walks past police officers riding motorised vehicles as they leave the Great Hall of the People after the opening ceremony of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, in Beijing.


Photographs: David Gray/Reuters

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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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Hotel guides pose for a photo on Tiananmen Square near the Great Hall of the People, the venue of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing.


Photographs: David Gray/Reuters

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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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A paramilitary policeman stands guard on Tiananmen Square near the Great Hall of the People, the venue of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing.


Photographs: David Gray/Reuters

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Tibetan delegates pose for a group photo in front of the Great Hall of the People, the venue of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing.


Photographs: David Gray/Reuters

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A man takes a picture next to a paramilitary police officer in front of the Great Hall of the People at Beijing's Tiananmen Square.


Photographs: Carlos Barria/Reuters

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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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Pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan holds a torn piece of paper with a picture of the 18th Communist Party Congress, outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong.


Photographs: Tyrone Siu/Reuters

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INSIDE China's Great Hall: Once-in-a-decade Congress opens

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Fudan University's student members of the Chinese Communist Party stand in formation to create the party's emblem, a hammer and sickle, to mark the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.


Photographs: Aly Song/Reuters

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