China’s political elite are expected to oust disgraced figure Bo Xilai and jostle for leadership roles in their last formal meeting which opened Thursday ahead of next week’s landmark power handover.
The Communist Party’s Central Committee convened behind closed doors, state media said, with 500 senior members brought together ahead of a congress which will open on November 8 to usher in leaders for the next decade.
The larger congress, which groups around 2,000 party members, is set to name Vice President Xi Jinping to succeed outgoing President Hu Jintao, while Vice Premier Li Keqiang is expected to replace outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao.
A security lockdown has been ordered over Beijing for next week’s 18th National Congress. Taxi owners and drivers — by some estimates over 67,000 ply the city’s roads — have been directed to seal the rear windows to prevent passengers from distributing anti-government leaflets. Drivers have also been asked to be alert about passengers carrying any kind of “balls” or “balloons”.
Drivers have been asked to frequently inspect the “inside and outside of their vehicles in order to ensure lawbreakers have not affixed reactionary materials or messages to the vehicle”.
Under the guidelines, drivers have been instructed to “seal the doors” by activating child safety locks and “seal the windows” by removing window cranks.
Besides locking up taxis, the sale of remote controlled toy planes and helicopters has been restricted. Balloons also are on the blacklist, the newspaper said. The report cited another officer from Chaoyang district Public Security Bureau as saying that pigeon owners must keep their birds in their coops during the Congress.