BEIJING (AP) — The annual conclave of China's National People's Congress in Beijing's cavernous Great Hall of the People is a highly scripted affair, designed to showcase the Communist Party's governance of China to the world.

But for all of the pomp and circumstance, the meetings and votes are largely a rubber-stamp formality. The actual decision-making happens out of sight behind drawn curtains, on the other side of closed doors, and down corridors manned by guards to keep away outsiders' prying eyes.

This year's session has an especially important task in passing constitutional amendments that will abolish term limits for the president and vice president.

The move allows head of state and Communist Party leader Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely, despite fears of a return to the catastrophic dictatorship of communist China's founder, Mao Zedong.