China opens power transfer by keeping it off-stage

Hu drew the line on political reform, a catchphrase for everything from greater transparency to democracy, even though retired party members, media commentators and government think tanks have in recent months called it an urgent need.

Hu’s signature policy — a grab-bag of ideas meant to promote more balanced growth and stronger party rule that goes under the clunky phrase “the Scientific Outlook on Development” — has already been adopted in the party constitution. Hu’s report to the congress called it “a powerful theoretical weapon” to guide the party.

“Even though this congress is about rejuvenation, passing the power to the young, what we see is the opposite,” said Willy Lam of Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Associated Press writers Gillian Wong, Christopher Bodeen, Didi Tang and Louise Watt contributed to this report.

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