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'China should focus on inequality'

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The China Communist Party Congress begins today, leading up to the announcement on 15 November of its new leadership.

The opening ceremony begins at Beijing's Great Hall of the People and President Hu will give a speech - a detailed work report of the party over past 5 years, and an outline of policy priorities for the future.

Past experience suggests this will set the tone for the leadership in the next few years, and will be an important indicator of the direction in which the party wishes to move.

The BBC's world editor John Simpson, who is in the Chinese capital, examined how much of a say the people will have in election of their new leaders.

Stephen Perry, chairman of the 48 Group Club and chief executive of the London Export Corporation, told Today presenter John Humphrys, "If they don't move 400m people off the land… if they don't transform the economy from export led to domestic consumption then they will not be able to make China work."

He explained that China's economic future depends on whether they can make changes "as quickly as is necessary".

Dr Zhengxu Wang, deputy director of the China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham, added that Chinese leaders are now "reducing their expectations" as far as the economy is concerned.

He went on to emphasise that it is the "quality of the growth" that is important for China, saying that "income inequality is the main issue that they have to tackle".


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