China ‘starts’ key conclave ahead of party congress

Reuters BEIJING (Reuters) — China’s propaganda chief on Wednesday visited government workers holidaying at the resort of Beidaihe, state media said, in the first hint that an annual conclave there of senior leaders was happening before an autumn party congress.

The once-every-five-years congress of the ruling Communist Party will see President Xi Jinping cement his grip on power and maneuver to place as many of his own people on to the elite Standing Committee, or apex of power in China, as he can.

Traditionally top party leaders visit the seaside town of Beidaihe every summer on a sort of unofficial retreat, where they bash out personnel moves and policy ideas behind closed doors.

This year’s Beidaihe meeting, the occurrence of which is often not even confirmed by the party, has extra significance as it will be happening so close to the congress.

Xi and Premier Li Keqiang have not appeared on the main evening news for the last week, when normally they are on almost every day, suggesting they have been in Beidaihe.

In a short dispatch, the official Xinhua news agency said that propaganda chief Liu Yunshan, a member of the current Standing Committee, had been entrusted by Xi to visit “vacationing experts” in Beidaihe, made up of people including scientists.

Liu told the experts that science was an important part of the country’s overall development, and urged them to make even greater contributions to China, Xinhua said.Speech

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