A photo blog of world events by Sacbee.com Assistant Director of Multimedia Tim Reese.
Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed
November 8, 2012
China opens power transfer by keeping it off-stage

BEIJING (AP) -- China's ruling communists opened a pivotal congress to initiate a power handover to new leaders Thursday with a nod to their revolutionary past and a broad promise of cleaner government while keeping off-stage the main event -- the bargaining over seats in the new leadership.

All the main players were arrayed on the stage in the Great Hall of the People: President Hu Jintao, his successor Xi Jinping and a collection of retired party insiders. A golden hammer and sickle, the Communist Party's symbol, hung on the back wall. Yet in a nearly two-hour opening ceremony, scant mention was made of the transition or that in a week Hu will step down as party chief in favor of Xi in what would be only the second orderly transfer of power in 63 years of communist rule.

The congress is writ small the state of Chinese politics today. It's a largely ceremonial gathering of 2,200-plus delegates who meet while the real deal-making is done behind-the-scenes by the true power-holders.

(28 images)




Communist leaders stand before the national anthem during the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Lee Jin-man
china_congress_02.jpg
Chinese soldiers walk past the Great Hall of the People where the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress is being held in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Lee Jin-man
china_congress_03.jpg
A Chinese paramilitary policeman stands guard at a flag raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square before the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing, China Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Vincent Yu
china_congress_04.jpg
A tourist holds a Chinese national flag to pose for photos while paramilitary policemen patrol on Tiananmen Square before the 18th Communist Party Congress is held at the nearby Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Alexander F. Yuan
china_congress_05.jpg
A paramilitary policeman guards an entrance from Tiananmen Square to the Great Hall of the People, where the 18th Communist Party Congress is held in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Alexander F. Yuan
china_congress_06.jpg
Chinese security personnel stand guard outside the Great Hall of the People where the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress is held in Beijing, China Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Vincent Yu
china_congress_07.jpg
Security personnel march in front of the Great Hall of the People during the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing, China Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Vincent Yu
china_congress_08.jpg
Journalists, firemen, buses, and red flags on Tiananmen are reflected in a glass door of the Great Hall of the People, where opening ceremony of the 18th Communist Party Congress is held, while a soldier dressed as an usher, seen through the glass, keeps watch in Beijing, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Alexander F. Yuan
china_congress_09.jpg
Chinese Communist Party delegates sit on a bus to leave the Great Hall of the People after opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress, while red flags are reflected in the bus window in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Alexander F. Yuan
china_congress_10.jpg
Hostesses for the National Congress walk across a main street after the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Vincent Yu
china_congress_11.jpg
Attendants pose for a picture in front of the Great Hall of the People before the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress held at in Beijing, China Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Vincent Yu
china_congress_12.jpg
Delegates in ethnic minority costumes walk past a hostess after the end of the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Vincent Yu
china_congress_13.jpg
Chinese delegates in ethnic minority costumes leave the Great Hall of the People after the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing, China Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Vincent Yu
china_congress_14.jpg
A delegate in ethnic minority costume holds a leather document folder marked with the emblem of the Communist Party of China and Chinese letters that read: "Chinese Communist Party 18th National Congress" after attending the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Vincent Yu
china_congress_15.jpg
Chinese President Hu Jintao, left, and former Chinese President Jiang Zemin arrive for the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Ng Han Guan
china_congress_16.jpg
A hostess serves a cup of tea between National People's Congress Chairman Wu Bangguo, right, and Vice President Xi Jinping, left, during the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Lee Jin-man
china_congress_17.jpg
China's communist leaders bow in silence in remembrance of the late leaders during the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Alexander F. Yuan
china_congress_18.jpg
Delegates bow in silence in remembrance of the late leaders during the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Lee Jin-man
china_congress_19.jpg
Chinese Communist Party leaders attend the opening session of 18th Communist Party Congress, while Hu Jintao, no in the picture, Chinese president and current Chinese Communist Party general secretary, reads a work report, whose seat is seen empty in the center of front row, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Alexander F. Yuan
china_congress_20.jpg
A security member checks the pass of a visitor at the Great Hall of the People during the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing, China Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Vincent Yu
china_congress_21.jpg
A soldier dressed as an usher, front, guards an entrance while an attendant, center, waits to serve Communist Party delegates at the Great Hall of the People, where the 18th Communist Party Congress is held in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Alexander F. Yuan
china_congress_22.jpg
A security person sits on a chair to guard in the Great Hall of the People where the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress is being held, in Beijing Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Vincent Yu
china_congress_23.jpg
Chinese children play near a floral arrangement displaying a Spirit of Beijing slogan, reading "Patriotism, Innovation, Tolerance, and Social Morals" during the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. Preparing to hand over power after a decade in office, China's President Hu Jintao called Thursday for sterner measures to combat official corruption that has stoked public anger while urging the Communist Party to maintain firm political control. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) AP / Andy Wong
china_congress_24.jpg
Tailors work from home as a television shows the live broadcast of Chinese President Hu Jintao speaking at the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress in Shanghai Thursday Nov. 8, 2012. AP /
china_congress_25.jpg
People walk past as a TV screen at the Beijing Railway Station, shows a live broadcast of Chinese President Hu Jintao's speech at the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress, in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Andy Wong
china_congress_26.jpg
Commuters walk past a TV screen showing a live broadcasting of Chinese President Hu Jintao's remarks at the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress, at a subway station in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Andy Wong
china_congress_27.jpg
A Chinese man watches a TV showing a live broadcasting of the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress, at a subway station in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Andy Wong
china_congress_28.jpg
A huge screen shows a broadcast of Chinese President Hu Jintao speaking at the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. AP / Vincent Yu

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.