The Communist Party announced yesterday it will hold a keynote meeting in November to discuss deepening reforms, a day after wrapping up the trial against disgraced former Politburo member Bo Xilai.
The decision to hold the third plenary session of the party's Central Committee in November was made at a Politburo meeting chaired by party general secretary Xi Jinping.
During the meeting, party leaders vowed to further combat corruption and called for unity both inside and outside the party to push ahead with reforms.
The third plenum is likely to indicate the new leadership's economic agenda for the next decade amid slowing growth.
It will also give an indication of Xi's ability to make his mark on party policy.
A statement issued after the Politburo meeting said deeper reforms were necessary to tackle the challenges facing the country and for sustainable economic development.
It called for a thorough understanding of the difficulties of implementing reforms.
Xi intends to end the heavy reliance on exports, credit and investment and move towards more consumer-driven growth. A statement released after the meeting said: "The reform and opening up can only be continued. It will never end."
The third plenum of each party session has often been considered a major turning point in modern political history.
The most famous such session was in 1978, when the second generation of leaders, led by Deng Xiaoping, turned against Maoist doctrine and made a commitment to market-oriented economic reform that eventually transformed the nation into the world's second largest economy.
Deng Yuwen, a former deputy editor with Study Times, a key publication run by the Central Party School, said: "With the conclusion of the trial against Bo, the party leaders believe they should move ahead and tackle other important issues."
But Deng said the plenary session was usually held in October. Postponing it to November may indicate that party leaders had still not reached consensus on key issues.
The Politburo meeting approved a five-year plan to stamp out corruption and vowed that the campaign was an important political mission of the party.
"Corruption is still very common, and the soil for breeding corruption is still here," the post-meeting statement said, adding that all cadres - regardless of rank - would be targeted. The meeting also approved a document on the reform of local governments and was briefed on preparations for a pilot free-trade zone in Shanghai.
Former Chongqing party secretary Bo was charged with corruption and abuse of power at his sensational trial, which ended on Monday.