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China's Communist Party begins secretive selection of new leaders

Main candidates vying for seven seats on China's Communist Party's next Politburo Standing Committee. Photo: Reuters

This week, as the the two main parties in the US battle it out and Americans go to the polls, China's ruling Communist Party begins the secretive selection of the new leaders of its one party state.

Around 2,200 delegates will gather in Beijing in the Great Hall of the People, overlooking Tiananmen Square, for a week, we think.

They will choose the 200 or so members of the Central Committee, which in turn selects the Politburo, which appoints the all powerful standing committee which, along with the Politburo, appoints a new Premier and President, or Chairman.

That's about all we know. How the new leaders are actually selected is a state secret.

With no need for a popular vote, no campaigning and no date for the end of Congress when the leaders will be unveiled; the Chinese people have little to do with the appointment of their new leaders.

About 5% of China's 1.3 Billion people are Communist party members and then really the power lies with the 9, or perhaps 7 this time around, hand picked officials who sit on the Standing Committee.

The political contrast between the US and China is never sharper than at this time.

China's selection process is still based on a Soviet model, which today has more in common with North Korea.

The US process has become a mass audience, two party telethon, funded by big business.

Whether we like them or not, both outcomes will govern the future direction of the whole world.