Chinese regime leader Hu Jintao has warned of "unprecedented challenges" facing the ruling Communist Party in a speech to senior officials on Monday. Hu urged for unity within the Party, as it braces for a leadership change later this year.
Rifts within the Party became apparent earlier this year with the scandal of the former Chongqing Party chief, Bo Xilai. Bo was once regarded as a rising political star, however, after his police chief, Wang Lijun, fled to a US Consulate, allegations of corruption, the use of torture, and abuse of power against Bo soon surfaced.
The speech by Hu on Monday, however, did not mention Bo. Instead, it focused on economic reform. The country's growth has slowed considerably this year, fuelling fears it could lead to greater public discontent against the ruling regime.
Hu is scheduled to step down as the Communist Party leader later this year. Competing factions within the Party are jostling, behind the scenes, over who to include in the new leadership -- a practice common within the Party aimed at protecting the legacies of existing leaders.
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