China opens final session of ruling Communist Party congress

The closing session of a major weeklong meeting of China’s ruling Communist Party got underway Saturday.

The roughly 2,000 delegates were expected to approve changes to the party constitution that could further enhance Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s hold on power.

They also will formally approve a new Central Committee of about 200 members to govern the party for the next five years. Xi is expected to retain the top spot when the new leadership of the party is unveiled Sunday.

Foreign media were not allowed into the start of the meeting, presumably when the voting was taking place.

Police were stationed along major roads, with bright red-clad neighborhood watch workers at regular intervals in between, to keep an eye out for any potential disruptions.

An individual caught authorities by surprise last week by unfurling banners from an overpass in Beijing that called for Xi’s removal and attacked his government’s tough pandemic restrictions under a “zero-COVID” approach.

The party congress sets the nation’s agenda for the coming five years. A report read by Xi at the opening session a week ago showed a determination to stay on the current path in the face of domestic and international challenges.

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