Chinese state media announced today that party congress to select new leaders will be held on November 8.
Congress occurs once every five years, this year leader Hu Jintao will step down after ten years as party boss. He will be replaced by Xi Jinping.
China's government has expelled disgraced senior politician Bo Xilai from the Communist Party and said it would hand him over for criminal investigation accused of multiples crimes.
Bo's wife and his former police chief have both been jailed over the scandal stemming from the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood in the southwestern city of Chongqing, where Bo was Communist Party chief.
A statement by the Chinese state news agency Xinhua said Bo has "abused his powers of office, committed serious errors and bears a major responsibility".
Bo will face charges for corruption, abuse of power, bribe taking and improper relations with a number of women.
"Bo Xilai's actions created grave repercussions, and massively damaged the reputation of the party and the state," said the statement.
Chinese state media has announced that disgraced senior Communist party member Bo Xilai has been expelled from the party, and will face criminal charges of corruption, abuse of power, bribe taking and improper relations with a number of women.
This footage released by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV shows Gu Kailai in court as the verdict in her trial for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood is announced.
During the hearing, Gu briefly addressed the court and said: "This verdict is just. It shows special respect for the law, reality and life".
Chinese state news agency Xinhua.net has quoted Gu Kailai as saying in her final statement:
This case has been like a huge stone weighing on me for more than half a year. What a nightmare.
During those days last November, I suffered a mental breakdown after learning that my son was in jeopardy. The tragedy which was created by me was not only extended to Neil, but also to several families.
– Gu Kailai
The case has produced great losses to the Party and the country, for which I ought to shoulder the responsibility, and I will never feel at ease. I am grateful to the humanitarian care shown to me by those who handled the case.
I solemnly tell the court that in order to maintain the dignity of the law, I will accept and calmly face any sentence and I also expect a fair and just court decision.
Speaking after Gu Kailai's sentence, court official Tang Yigan said that Gu and family aide, Zhang Xiaojun, had told the court they would not appeal their sentences.
Tang said Gu told the court that the verdict was "fair and it shows special respect for the law, reality and life."
He also said that the court had considered Gu's testimony against others, her confession and repentance, and her "psychological impairment" as mitigating factors in sentencing.
But he said it rejected claims that Heywood's threats had prompted the crime, saying there was no evidence he intended to make good on them.
Four policemen accused of covering up Neil Heywood's murder have been given prison sentences, ranging from five to 11 years.
Former deputy Chongqing police chief Guo Weiguo and leading officer Li Yang were sentenced to 11 years.
Officers Wang Pengfei and Wang Zhi were given five years each.
A suspended death sentence for Gu Kailai effectively means that even after she is released from jail her public life is over.
It is also unlikely that her once powerful husband Bo Xilai will ever be seen in public again either.