Guide to the CCP's 18th congress

Vice President Xi Jinping (middle) walks to his seat at the opening of the 18th Communist Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 8, 2012. Mr Xi has moved closer to taking the reins of power and is expected to replace President Hu Jintao as party chief in a once-a-decade power transition, setting the stage for his promotion to president of the world's most populous nation.

BEIJING - The party congress, held every five years, is the most important political event for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The 18th congress will end next Wednesday.

The day after, China's new leadership under Mr Xi Jinping will be unveiled. The last power transfer in 2002 saw Mr Xi's predecessor Hu Jintao taking over from Mr Jiang Zemin.

A total 2,268 delegates picked nationwide are attending the congress, during which the outgoing leadership under Mr Hu will give a lengthy report of the CCP's work in the past 10 years, and spell out the future direction and goals of the party.

Delegates will elect a new Central Committee and Central Commission for Discipline, whose key task is to fight corruption.

The real excitement begins when members of the new Political Standing Committee (PSC), the elite group that effectively rules China, are introduced next Thursday.

How are leaders selected?

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