China: Calls For Reform As New Leader Chosen

Lisa Holland, Foreign Affairs Correspondent in Beijing

China's 18th Communist Party Congress has closed in Beijing. The week-long Congress ended 24 hours before the next leader of the Communist Party is officially confirmed.

The power transition ended with a vote by the Communist Party's central committee on who will be the next party secretary.

But everyone already knows that it will be the current Vice President Xi Jinping.

It has been a carefully choreographed, opaque, political process - and one which ordinary Chinese are completely divorced from.

We went to the suburbs of Beijing to meet a woman who wanted to represent the people - but her efforts were squashed by the authorities.

The suburbs of Beijing are a world away from the ruling elite.

Wu Lihong showed us her police detention papers - she was illegally held in Beijing for two weeks then sent thousands of miles away, to ensure she missed the deadline to stand as an independent candidate in local elections.

She enjoyed huge public support amongst her community for standing up to officials who were bulldozing local homes to redevelop the area.

Now forced to move away from her old neighbours she has a message for China's new president and his inner circle.

She said: "They are national leaders, who are supposed to represent the people's interests from the people's perspective.

"They should let people participate more and allow them to vote. I was merely fighting for the limited rights that belong to ordinary people.

She added: "It is extremely difficult for ordinary people to be elected as people's representatives.

"Under the current system, all representatives are assigned by government officials. It's impossible for ordinary people to compete."

Political reform and a slowing economy will undoubtedly be the biggest challenges for the new leadership.