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  • Paramilitary police raise fists to the Communist Party of China flag ahead of a National Congress.

    Paramilitary police raise fists to the Communist Party of China flag ahead of a National Congress. | Photo: Reuters

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The congress will mark the beginning of Xi’s second five-year term as China’s leader.

China’s ruling Communist Party, CPC, will launch its next congress on Oct. 18, when President Xi Jinping is expected to receive a second term as the party’s top leader, state media reported.

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Xinhua news agency made the brief announcement following a meeting of the party’s Politburo, one of its main bodies, but did not say how long the congress, which is held every five years, would go on for.

The 19th National Congress of the CPC will be preceded by a plenum held on Oct. 11, when details for the congress will be finalized, Xinhua said.

Xi took over the party leadership from his predecessor, Hu Jintao, at the 18th party congress in November 2012. Since then, he has emerged as China’s most popular leader in decades. 

Last October, the party gave Xi the title of “core” leader, putting him on par with past figures like Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

At the meeting, Xi is widely expected to receive a second five-year term as party general secretary and chairman of the Central Military Commission that controls China’s armed forces.

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"The spirit of President Xi Jinping's important speeches will be carried out at the Congress," the People's Daily newspaper said.

At the congress, Xi will also lay out his vision for the next five years and beyond, with a focus on areas like economic reform, military modernization and the war on corruption.

His second term as state president will then be rubber-stamped by China’s parliament at its annual session in March 2018.

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The congress will decide a new line-up for the Politburo Standing Committee, the group of seven politicians who manage the world's second largest economy.

Xi has already been maneuvering people close to him into important positions ahead of the congress, with an eye to possibly getting some of them onto the Standing Committee.

The new slate of committee members is traditionally seen as indicating Xi's most likely successor after he steps down, expected in 2022.

But the president has thus far delayed appointing a successor, spurring speculation that he will try to stay in office beyond that year, perhaps giving up the post as president but remaining as party leader, the more senior of the posts.

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