Decisions on China's next generation of leaders is made behind closed doors. The 18th Communist Party Congress is step number one in a carefully choreographed transfer of power from current party leader Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping.
Around two thirds of the 200 Central Committee members are selected at the Party Congress. Above that is the 25-member Politburo and its 9-member Standing Committee - China's actual powerhouse.
China's Communist Party holds a party congress every five years. Every other congress determines who will lead the party and thus the country. But it's a known secret that decisions made there are actually made far in advance.
To open the congress, Hu Jintao, incumbent party leader and president, addressed delegates on November 8 at the Great Hall of the People. He spoke of "unprecedented opportunities for development and also risks" for the party and warned his comrades of corruption.
For Xi Jinping, the Communist Party Congress is the last hurdle before he becomes party leader. During the National People's Congress in March 2013, the 59-year-old is due to officially take over from Hu to become the country's president.
Li Keqiang will also get a promotion. The 57-year-old, who is currently vice prime minister, is expected to be named the replacement of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
In addition to a massive police presence, military personnel keep guard outside the Great Hall of the People. Safe is safe.
Tourists who can show Communist Party spirit are warmly welcome - especially for photo opps.
The people of China can participate in the country's change of power - from afar and on TV. There is no lack of coverage of party's most important event in a decade.
Beijing\'s Great Hall of the People is hosting China\'s 18th Communist Party Congress at which a change in leadership is taking place.