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China finally sets date for key Communist Party congress

In an overdue announcement, Chinese state media says the five-yearly Communist Party of China congress, a key event in the country's leadership transition, will convene November 8.

China cpc congress nov 8 20120928Enlarge
Workmen put the finishing touches on a giant flower pot in front of the Great Hall of People beside Tiananmen Square as the city prepares for the upcoming 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, to be held in Beijing starting November 8, 2012, according to state media. Xi Jinping is widely expected to be named head of the ruling Communist Party and become president in the country's once-in-a-decade leadership transition. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

China has finally announced the start date of the crucial Communist Party national congress: November 8 in Beijing.

State news agency Xinhua announced the date Friday following a meeting of the powerful political bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

The five-yearly congress is a key event in the country's leadership transition, with Xi Jinping expected to replace Hu Jintao as Chinese president. 

More from GlobalPost: Bo Xilai expelled from Communist Party of China, will face charges

But the dates for the congress were overdue: dates are usually announced in August, with the congress held in mid-October, the Associated Press reported.

"The delay is yet another sign of disarray over a power transition that has become fractious despite party leaders' attempts to display public unity," the AP said.

China Digital Times noted that news of the congress convening November 8 was released alongside an announcement that disgraced politician Bo Xilai has been expelled from the Communist Party and will face charges.

More from GlobalPost: China at a crossroads: the upshot from the Party Congress

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/120928/china-finally-sets-date-key-communist-party-congress