A reporter's reflections on 19th CPC National Congress
By Lindy Mtongana
The Great Hall of the People is an impressive structure. Standing at 46 meters in height and stretching 356 meters in length, it takes up an area of 170,000 square meters.
The year was 1959 and more than 30,000 people were mobilized by the Communist Party of China (CPC) to build it, in honor of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. With its intimidating 40-meter pillars, marble floors, grand chandeliers, and expansive halls and meeting rooms, it’s hard to believe it was all done within just 10 months.
The great auditorium in which Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, delivered a report to the 19th CPC National Congress seats 10,000 people.
China’s openness to the world has allowed reporters like me to experience firsthand not only the power of the CPC but its purpose-driven policies and priorities.
The CPC delegate discussions that I attended as an observer have given me insight into how poverty is being actively addressed in the country’s tiniest villages; how gender representation is being implemented within the Party, how marginalized communities are given platforms for public expression, and how the Belt and Road Initiative is not just political rhetoric but a genuine desire to explore opportunities for growth with partners in Africa and the rest of the world. 
The 19th CPC National Congress is not done yet. There is much more to be seen and learned in the coming days. 
The Great Hall of the People is not accessible to media at the moment, as closed door plenary sessions continue. I will observe this architectural marvel from a distance, in the company of local Beijingers who are remarkably positive about the future that lies ahead.