In a year when Russia and France have gone to the polls, crucial elections have occurred in Egypt and Greece and Barack Obama will fight to hold on to the US presidency, the political party that rules the most-populous nation on Earth and the world's second-largest economy is also on course to switch to a new leadership team.

The outcome of this leadership transition is now as important to Australia's future as the results in America. But the details of just what exactly is taking place in China are not well understood.