Take the role of the premier, the person managing the world's second-largest economy and, in theory, second only to Mr Xi in the power structure. Outgoing premier Li Keqiang will take centre stage on day one. Then, at the end, a new premier, almost certainly Li Qiang, will occupy the limelight. They're two very different people, especially in terms of their loyalty to Mr Xi, who started an upheaval a decade ago with his anti-corruption crackdown, cutting a swathe through the ranks of rival party factions.
At last October's Communist Party Congress, new appointments to the seven-man Politburo Standing Committee meant the most powerful group in the country now had only Xi loyalists.