The top leaders of China’s ruling Communist Party on November 8 started a pivotal meeting expected to further firm President Xi Jinping’s grip on power.

Some 400 members of the party’s powerful Central Committee gathered in Beijing for the four-day plenary, which – like all meetings of China’s secretive leadership – is being held behind closed doors.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency said Xi opened the meeting with a work report and “explanations on a draft resolution on the major achievements and historical experience” for the party through its 100-year history.

The resolution will set the stage for the 20th Party Congress next year, at which Xi is widely expected to declare that he will serve a third term in office, cementing his position as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.

Xi recently launched a campaign of “common prosperity”, designed to tackle wealth inequality and tighten oversight of home-grown business giants.

The Central Committee resolution would mark the third of its kind in the history of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The first, passed under Mao in 1945, helped cement his authority over the CCP four years before it seized power. The second, under Deng Xiaoping in 1981, saw the regime adopt economic reforms and recognise the “mistakes” of Mao’s ways.

The timing is significant, coming a year before Xi is expected to secure an unprecedented third term in office at a twice-a-decade congress.

Having scrapped term limits in a 2018 constitutional amendment, Xi has not appointed a clear successor and is expected to lead until at least 2027.

Steering the post-pandemic economy as well as the question of Taiwan – a democratic island that Beijing claims as its own territory – could also be on the meeting agenda this week.