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'China Seven' expansion in play as top leaders assemble

Chen Min'er and Hu Chunhua tipped to join Politburo Standing Committee

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a wreath-laying ceremony in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in September: The Politburo Central Committee is considering expanding its top-level body to nine members from seven.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- A key meeting of Chinese policymakers began Monday, as the country's top leaders grapple with how to strengthen control within the Communist Party as it faces problems including unrest in Hong Kong.

Observers will be watching the four-day Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee for the possibility of changes at the top, including a potential expansion of the Politburo Standing Committee, the highest decision-making body, from its current seven members.

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