The online news portal of TV5
BEIJING -- China's leaders including the man expected to be the next president have begun their summer meetings at a seaside resort, state press said Sunday, ahead of a once-in-a-decade transition of power.
The secretive month-long talks in Beidaihe, 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Beijing, are expected to be intense after the fall from grace of the charismatic Bo Xilai and with the Communist Party congress in the autumn.
Outgoing and retired leaders will likely attempt to negotiate the ruling party's next Politburo Standing Committee, currently a nine-member group that serves as China's top decision and policy-making body.
Vice President Xi Jinping, expected to take the top party post when President Hu Jintao steps down at the congress later this year, met officials and academics advising the government on economic reform, China Central Television reported.
Other top figures at the meeting included Li Yuanchao, Liu Yandong and Ling Jihua, the report said. All have been tipped for promotion to the core of the party.
It was not immediately clear what other leaders are to attend the seaside meetings, which used to be a regular feature of the summer until Hu apparently deemed them too extravagant to take place on an annual basis.
The opaque leadership transition -- in which Vice Premier Li Keqiang is tipped to become China's next premier and could take charge of the economy -- has been in turmoil since Bo was removed from his post as head of the Chongqing municipality.
His wife has been charged with the murder of Neil Heywood, a British business partner, in one of the biggest scandals to rock China's ruling elite in decades. Bo had been expected to be promoted to the standing committee.
His wife Gu Kailai is to be tried on Thursday.
Heywood was found dead in a hotel room last November in Chongqing, in the southwest, where Bo had engineered a revival singing the praises of Mao Zedong.
Gu, a former international lawyer, faces the death penalty if convicted, although this is often commuted in high-profile cases.
China's official news agency Xinhua has said there is "irrefutable and substantial" evidence that Gu and family aide Zhang Xiaojun had poisoned Heywood.