Chian's first Communist Party congress in 10 years opened today with general secretary and Chinese president Hu Jintao urging citizens to continue the "march on the path of socialism."
He said that China must focus on progress in its economy, ecology, politics, culture and society.
The high-profile fall from grace of Bo Xilai, who was mired in a corruption scandal after his wife murdered British businessman Neil Heywood, has dominated the run-up to congress.
Mr Hu warned the 2,300 delegates that not fighting corruption within the party could "prove fatal."
He also renewed calls to build a "moderately prosperous" society by 2020, saying the future leadership will work to double GDP per capita from its 2010 levels and focus on developing rural infrastructure.
Many in China resent the widening gap between rich and poor as a result of its market-socialist policies.
Mr Hu's 90-minute speech included pledges to follow an "independent foreign policy of peace."
Seemingly referring to Syria's civil war, he said: "China is committed to peaceful settlement of international disputes … opposes any foreign attempt to subvert the legitimate government of any other countries and opposes terrorism in all its manifestations."
At the end of the week-long congress the party will pick new leaders.
Xi Jinping is widely tipped to replace Mr Hu as general secretary and then take over the country's presidency shortly afterwards.
It's unlikely that they will be any warmer towards the West.
Free Tibet claimed today that five monks set themselves on fire in protest at what it called the "ongoing occupation" of Tibet. The group said the protests were timed to coincide with the opening of the Chinese Communist Party congress.
Foreign Minister Alistair Burt's admission that the Cameron government has "supported" a survey of attitudes to US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas amounts to a tacit admission of British involvement.