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China’s Party Congress: Grand Scenes and Tiny Moments in Beijing

Though the twice-a-decade conclave occurred mostly behind closed doors, there was plenty of pageantry on display at the weeklong congress.

Ushers laugh as they stand on Tiananmen Square before the closing ceremony of China's 19th Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 24. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping's name was added to the Communist Party's constitution at the congress, elevating him alongside Chairman Mao to the pantheon of the country's founding giants. 

Mark Schiefelbein / AP

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening session, attended by some 2,300 delegates, in the Great Hall of the People on Oct. 18. 

The congress culminates in the selection of a new Politburo Standing Committee to rule China's 1.4 billion people for the next five years. 

Etienne Oliveau / Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with former President Hu Jintao as former President Jiang Zemin looks on during the opening session.

The 64-year-old Xi has consolidated power swiftly since assuming the party leadership in 2012, locking up rivals for corruption, tightening controls on civil society, revamping the military and asserting China's rising might on the global stage.

Lintao Zhang / Getty Images
Soldiers and security guards wait for delegates to arrive for the opening ceremony. Greg Baker / AFP - Getty Images
Ushers are reflected in a puddle of water in Tiananmen Square. Andy Wong / AP
A Chinese military band plays after the speech by President Xi Jinping at the opening session. Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
President Xi Jinping speaks at the opening session. Xi's speech was both optimistic and cautionary and he vowed that Chinese socialism was entering a "new era." Kevin Frayer / Getty Images

A hostess closes the door of a meeting room on Oct. 19, the second day of the congress.

Fred Dufour / AFP - Getty Images
Ushers pose for photos in Tiananmen Square. Ahmad Masood / Reuters
A soldier dressed as an usher stands guard at an entrance door of the Great Hall of the People. Andy Wong / AP

Guards march in front of the Great Hall on the second day of the congress. 

Fred Dufour / AFP - Getty Images
Delegates talk to the media. Thomas Peter / Reuters

A security officer keeps watch behind a curtain on the second day of the congress.

Thomas Peter / Reuters
A guard stands outside the Great Hall. Wu Hong / EPA
A host fills tea cups for the Shanghai delegates before a meeting. Andy Wong / AP

Delegates from Xinjiang attend a meeting.

Xinjiang, China’s westernmost region, is home to the Uighurs, a Muslim group which claims to face discrimination from the Han Chinese.

Ng Han Guan / AP
Delegates walk at the Great Hall. Wu Hong / EPA
An attendant looks through curtains before the Tibet open delegation discussions. Roman Pilipey / EPA
A man walks down the steps at the Great Hall. Roman Pilipey / EPA
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Party Secretary Chen Quanguo attends a session on the second day of the congress. Tyrone Siu / Reuters

A soldier gestures towards a photographer in Tiananmen Square on Oct. 22.

Nicolas Asfouri / AFP - Getty Images
Ushers throw their hats as they pose for photographs before the closing ceremony on Oct. 24. Roman Pilipey / EPA
Chinese President Xi Jinping stands during the Internationale, the Communist anthem, at the closing ceremony. Andy Wong / AP
A conductor leads the band during the closing ceremony. Ng Han Guan / AP
An attendant clears under tables used by Chinese leaders after the closing of the congress. Greg Baker / AFP - Getty Images

Workers check on the delegates' seats after the closing ceremony.

Related: Xi Jinping Becomes China’s Most Powerful Leader in Decades

Andy Wong / AP