Updated: Mon, 04 Mar 2013 09:15:00 GMT | By Ian Jones, MSN UK news editor
China's rulers meet for annual congress

Military power and pomp on display as thousands gather in Beijing



A Chinese paramilitary policeman stands guard outside the Great Hall (© AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
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  • A Chinese paramilitary policeman stands guard outside the Great Hall (© AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
  • A hostess arranges the delegates' chairs before the opening session (© AP Photo/Andy Wong)
  • Hostesses prepare to pour tea into cups for the delegates (© AP Photo/Andy Wong)
  • A military band conductor rehearses before the opening session (© AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
  • A hostess places towels for the delegates (© AP Photo/Andy Wong)
  • Hong Kong movie star Jackie Chan leaves after the opening session (© AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
  • Former NBA basketball player Yao Ming, right, attends the opening session (© AP Photo/Andy Wong)
  • Chinese firefighters stand on duty for the opening session (© AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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China's top officials and political party members have gathered in Beijing for a week of carefully-choreographed meetings and conferences, culminating in the annual National People's Congress. The events are a chance for the country to show the world its mastery of expertly-planned pomp, pageantry and eccentricity. This picture shows a Chinese paramilitary policeman standing guard outside the Great Hall of the People, venue for all the main conferences.

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