How does China prepare for its biggest political event of the decade? That’s the meeting of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party, opening Nov. 8 in Beijing, which will see a historic shift in top leadership. For starters, dramatically beef up security in Beijing, while beautifying the city with elaborate flower decorations and revolutionary banners. Other measures include shutting off foreign television in five-star hotel gyms, ripping out articles in overseas publications, and perhaps oddest of all, ordering taxis to disable their windows so passengers can’t open them.
Amping up security is not surprising. After all, more than 2,000 congress delegates from across China will attend the week-or-so-long political meeting. All of China’s present and future top leaders will be in Beijing, too, and will gather to meet in the Great Hall of the People, just off Tiananmen Square. Those include outgoing Party Secretary and Premier Hu
Jintao and his almost certain replacement, Xi Jinping, set to take over leadership of the 83 million-member Communist Party at the congress, as well as become president of China early next year. Premier Wen Jiabao and his likely successor, Li Keqiang, as well as the other present and future members of the elite Politburo Standing Committee (now with nine members, but that may become seven), will also be in attendance.