Aug. 7 – According to the state-run Xinhua news agency, Chinese political leaders have begun secretive month-long talks at a seaside resort in Beidaihe. Ahead of a once-in-a-decade leadership transition, it is expected that this meeting will determine the future of many major issues, including the ruling party’s next Politburo Standing Committee, and the conclusion of the political scandal surrounding the ousted party official Bo Xilai.
Summer meetings were once an annual event for Chinese political leaders until Hu Jintao officially abolished them in 2003, due to their excessive extravagance. In recent years, however, political analysts and party insiders have said that the tradition has been resurrected.
It is expected that many high-level officials are to attend the meetings, including Vice President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Li Keqiang. Other officials include Li Yuanchao, head of the party’s Organization Department, Liu Yandong, a state councilor overseeing youth and education, and Ling Jihua, head of the General Office. All three are expected to be promoted into higher echelons of the Politburo, which is China’s decision-making body.
Xinhua did not provide further details about who else is attending the meeting, however, from previous meetings, it can be assumed that current and retired chieftains of the Chinese Communist Party will be in attendance.
While the meeting will be informal it nature, it will nonetheless play a large role in determining the direction that China will take in the next decade. At a time when China is grappling with its economy, a credibility crisis in the aftermath of the Beijing floods, and increasing territorial tension in the South China Sea, this meeting of high-level political leaders may prove to be central in forming China’s future domestic and foreign policies.