OK, I think I'll outsource coverage of the 18th Party Congress to China Daily Show:
Amid speculation and scandal surrounding the 18th Party Congress, which begins today, Whitman confessed that neither he nor any of his colleagues had any notion about what is actually happening behind the walled compounds of Zhongnanhai and Beidahe, where the key decisions are usually made about the upcoming leadership transition.
“Sometimes, I feel embarrassed when people ask me what’s really going on with, say, Bo Xilai or Jiang Zemin and I have to kind of roll my eyes, shrug and sometimes even extend my hands, with the palms upwards, like I’m some kind of complete asshat,” said Whitman. “But honestly, we’re really doing our best.”
All the hacks had to sit through a 101 minute work report by Hu Jintao the other day: there's a photo, which I've seen but can't currently locate, of the Guardian's Tania Branigan apparently falling asleep in HJT's face. We're going to hear lots about stagnation and about how something needs to change and please please please make it stop.