China's communist elite readies for power transfer

Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — 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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