Communist Party elite head to Beidaihe for agenda-setting meetings
Leaders of the ruling Communist Party have gathered in the seaside resort of Beidaihe for annual closed-door meetings to set the tone for major policies.
The leaders meet each year in the Hebei town to work out major policy decisions for the coming year but its start is never formally announced.
However, Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan met leading academics and researchers on behalf of President Xi Jinping on Friday a meeting seen by China watchers as a sign that the main gathering was under way.
In all, 56 experts were invited to the resort this year, bringing the total since 2001 to more than 900.
Liu was quoted by state-run Xinhua as saying the party put great emphasis on training talent. He called on the experts to work harder on innovation and on establishing China as a technically advanced nation.
Vice-Premier Ma Kai and party Organisation Department chief Zhao Leji also attended the meeting, Xinhua reported.
China is struggling to shift its economy from reliance on credit-fuelled growth to development driven by technology and innovation. Massive job cuts are planned in industries plagued by overcapacity, changes that might trigger social unrest and pose a threat to the party’s rule. China will also host a summit of leaders from the world’s 20 major economies in Hangzhou next month.
In the lead-up to this year’s Beidaihe summit, top party leaders toured the nation on fact-finding missions to gauge economic and social concerns. Xi visited forestry workers in Yichun, Heilongjiang, in May and a monument honouring the end of the Long March in Ningxia last month, a trip seen as an attempt to bolster his image as an inheritor of the party’s legacy.
The party’s top echelon began meeting each summer in Beidaihe in 1953, when they decided to escape the summer heat of the capital.