The ruling Communist Party of China’s leaders will gather in Beijing next week for a key meeting, which has been delayed for months amid a bruising trade war with the US, a slowing economy and the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The Fourth Plenum of the CPC’s 19th Central Committee will be held behind closed doors between October 28 and 31.

“The fourth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will be held from October 28 to 31 in Beijing, according to a decision made at a CPC Central Committee Political Bureau meeting on Thursday,” the official news agency, Xinhua announced Thursday.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, presided over the meeting. Around 300 of CPC’s top leaders will attend it.

“At Thursday’s meeting, members of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau discussed important issues concerning how to uphold and improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernise China’s system and capacity for governance,” the statement issued after Thursday’s meeting said.

Experts at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) told AFP that holding the meeting next week would make it a plenum being held after the longest hiatus since 1977.

Next week’s meeting will be the fourth Central Committee conclave that Xi will be convening since beginning his second term in October, 2017.

At the last one held in February 2018, the committee ended the constitutional provision that barred China’s head of state from serving more than two consecutive terms.

The decision to do away with the provision paved the way for Xi to technically stay in power indefinitely.

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