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China starts key four-day meeting to set tone for rest of President Xi's tenure

China's most senior Communist Party leaders have gathered in Beijing for a four-day meeting that could set the tone for the rest of President Xi Jinping's tenure. It comes in the wake of a clampdown on corruption.

The leaders of China's communist party began a key plenary meeting on Monday as President Xi Jinping sought to instill the message that his campaign against corruption is far from over. Some 370 Central Committee members have gathered in Beijing's Jingxi Hotel, the historic site where former leader Deng Xiaoping launched reforms that opened up China's economy in 1978.

The closed-door meeting comes in the wake of Xi punishing more than one million party members over graft allegations.

The party's official newspaper wrote on Monday that the summit would "forge an even stronger, energetic leadership core, ready and waiting to guide China at its new starting point".

Xi seeks to shore up power

 According to insiders, Xi hopes to finally overcome opposition to new regulations forcing party members to disclose foreign assets, many of them hidden under the names of relatives or foreign business partners. Previous attempts by Xi to root out official corruption have been shot down by some of the more powerful members of the Central Committee.

Some commentators also believe the purpose of the meeting is for the president to crack down on dissent to his administration.

"To strengthen 'party self-discipline' is just an excuse. The core issue that the party wants to work on during the plenary is to confirm the new power centre. It is quite an important meeting, because Xi still hasn't fully established his power," longtime political commentator Zhang Lifan told German news agency DPA.

China's state news outlet Xinhua reported that the main purpose of the meeting is to get a new set of disciplinary rules approved, but Xi may have a more difficult time than anticipated. Although party meetings take place behind closed doors, in-fighting between different factions is known to be rampant - especially between Xi's group and those led by former presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.

Xinhua is expected to release a lengthy dispatch on the outcome of the proceedings once they end on Thursday.

es/jm (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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