China's Communist Party Congress to end on October 22: spokesman

People visit Tiananmen Gate ahead of China's 20th Communist Party Congress in Beijing on October 13, 2022. Photo by Noel Celis / AFP

Beijing, Cambodia -- The Chinese Communist Party's 20th Congress will end on October 22, a spokesman said Saturday at a press conference on the eve of the gathering, where President Xi Jinping is expected to secure a historic third term in power.

Around 2,300 delegates from every province in China will gather at the Great Hall of the People in the capital Beijing from Sunday for the mostly closed-door conclave.

The CCP's five-yearly talking shop will get under way at 10:00 am (0200 GMT) with an opening ceremony, after which Xi is expected to deliver a lengthy speech that will give an assessment of the previous term as well as a roadmap for the next five years.

Congress spokesman Sun Yeli told reporters: "The preparations for the Congress have now been fully completed."

Should everything go to plan, by the end of the meeting 69-year-old Xi will be reconfirmed as the party's general secretary, cementing his position as China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.

At the highly choreographed conclave, the 2,296 participants will pick members of the party's roughly 200-member Central Committee, which in turn selects the 25-person Politburo and its all-powerful Standing Committee -- the country's highest leadership body.

The day after Congress closes, the new Standing Committee -- currently a group of seven men including General Secretary Xi -- should be revealed.

Sun said that the number of female delegates has increased to 27 percent from 24 percent at the last Congress in 2017.

China is holding Sunday's opening ceremony under a strict zero-Covid policy, sealing organisers and journalists in a virus-secure bubble two days in advance.

Participants have been ordered to take daily Covid tests to attend events, some of which are being held remotely by video link instead of in person.

At a hotel in western Beijing, organisers have set up a press centre crammed with exhibitions extolling Xi, festooned in the Communist Party's signature red and gold.

Scattered around the venue are tables piled with books on Xi's philosophy and China's development, while one display features an AI-driven "digital human" that tells jokes and sings songs upon request.

© Agence France-Presse

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