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China's elite open key meeting amid jockeying

October 14, 2011

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BEIJING—Top officials from China's Communist Party are meeting for the most important annual conference of the year as they prepare for a sweeping change in the leadership starting next fall.

The 200-plus Central Committee members and more than 150 alternates drawn from the government, the provinces and the military meeting Saturday in Beijing will try to dampen infighting over who will lead China when President Hu Jintao and many in his collective leadership must retire a year from now.

The political transition comes at a time when the leadership wants to flex China's new power abroad and feels besieged at home by a fast-changing society that feels entitled to make demands on the authoritarian government, with social media amplifying grievances.

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