China's Hu Jintao opens meeting on leadership change

  • Chinese President Hu Jintao has opened a Communist Party congress to begin a once-in-a-decade power transfer.

    Hu’s speech on Thursday kicks off a weeklong meeting that will result in a new set of leaders unveiled.

    Speaking to more than 2,000 delegates, he opened the meeting with a harsh warning that a failure to tackle the issue of corruption "could prove fatal to the party".

    During the congress a new central committee is chosen, which then selects the country's highest decision-making body, the Standing Committee of the Politburo.

    The process takes place behind closed doors.

    The current Standing Committee has nine members, of whom seven including Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao are likely to step down.

    The other two members, Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, are expected to become party leader and deputy respectively.

    Xi is also expected to take over from Hu as China's president in March 2013.